The European Union’s tomato production is expected to record a fall of 9 percent as compared to the previous year due to harsh weather conditions. Owing to adverse weather conditions, the volume of exports from tomato-producing countries like Spain is likely to reduce.
According to the European Commission’s latest report, fresh tomato production in EU countries is likely to fall in 2022 under short-term prospects for agricultural markets. The data estimates EU may witness a decrease of 9 percent on a year-on-year basis which is 3 percent lower than the 5-year average.
Spain and Italy together constitute 60 percent of the EU’s tomatoes both for consumption and export purposes. However, their production volumes plunged significantly this year due to dry and unfavourable agro-climatic conditions. Moreover, producers are shifting towards high-value cherry tomatoes and over the years, tomato production in greenhouses has decreased owing to high energy costs.
Morocco Taking Charge
Lower production is likely to reduce the volume of exports, especially from tomato-producing countries like Spain. Spain is already losing its market share to Morocco as tomato exports have started to plunge. The supply gap is being filled by Morocco, which recorded a YoY increase of 19% in tomato exports during the first 8 months of 2022. Spain’s tomato exports seem to be losing their edge in comparison to supply from Morocco in the global tomato market. The outlook for Tomato Exports from Morocco remains positive provided the country manages to produce enough volume despite the harsh weather conditions.
Another reason that can be attributed to a fall in tomato production and tomato exports is Brexit. There was a fall in demand for Spanish tomatoes from the United Kingdom markets following increased competition from Morocco post-Brexit. According to the EU commission report, Spain’s advantage over Morocco in the context of tomato exports has decreased.
Spain has been a leading tomato producer and exporter but starting this decade, Spain has decreased its tomato exports by more than 40 percent. Moroccan tomatoes would likely fill the space created by the shortfall in Spanish tomato supplies. Based on the UN’s International Trade Statistics, Morocco and Spain have a market share of 8.1%
and 8.5% in global tomato exports respectively. Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have already become regular buyers of Moroccan tomatoes.
According to Morocco’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries data, Morocco has been exporting more tomatoes. For the 2021-22 season starting September 2021 to August 2022, tomato export volume from Morocco reached 670,000 million tonnes depicting a 19 percent year-on-year increase. It is noteworthy that there was an increase in overall tomato production despite harsh agro-climatic conditions in Morocco. Future prospects for Morocco’s tomato exports will remain positive if the country manages to produce enough volume despite cruel weather conditions. In terms of its competition from Spain, Morocco will likely overtake Spain’s position as the third-largest producer of tomatoes by the end of this year.