Conversion Note: 1 metric ton = 1.102 short tons

As of February 17, 2011 Field Price of Paste TomatoesAccording to the World Processing Tomato Council’s April forecast, the world will produce 38.2 million metric tons (42.1 million short tons) and a 2.3% increase over last year’s crop.

Europe’s major producers, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal, are decreasing acreage and their production expectations.

Italy’s forecast is down 7.5% to 4.7 million MT. Spain is planning for almost 19% less at 1.9 million MT. Portugal expects 6.3% less at 1.2 million MT, while Greece forecasts only 450,000 MT, a 30% decline. Overall Europe’s expectations are down 11.4%, to 8.46 million MT.

This marks the first season that European Union growers will not receive subsidies specifically for tomatoes. In a program known as “decoupling”, the Common Agricultural Program (CAP) has been phasing out crop‐specific subsidies since 2008.

As the subsidy program changed, raw tomato prices in Europe have risen sharply since 2008, and this year is no exception. As the table below shows, California’s raw tomato price increase of 4.6% pales next to the striking increases in Europe.

China is expecting an 8% increase over last year to 6.7 million MT. Competition from grains and cotton propped up the raw tomato prices again as tomatoes compete for ground with profitable commodities.

Turkey is also worth mentioning as the country plans to increase production 56% to 2 million MT. Turkey is one of the few countries to contract raw tomatoes for a lower price in 2011.

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