Conversion Note: 1 metric ton = 1.102 short tons

 Tomato Volume in Selected CountriesWhile California reached toward record tonnage, production slumped globally. Global tomato volume dropped 10.9% from a year ago. At 33.5 million metric tons, worldwide volume dipped to its lowest level since 2006. The crop missed preseason fore‐ casts by 5% which translates to a 2 million metric ton shortfall, according to the World Processing Tomato Council’s (WPTC) preliminary results.

This year’s biggest loser was China. Only 3.23 million MT of tomatoes were processed in China, down 52% from last year.

Weather hurt an industry al‐ ready struggling economically. According to the WPTC, heavy rains and flooding shortened the season in Inner Mongolia and Ningxia regions, while drought and blight decreased yields by 20‐30% in the Xinjiang region where 90% of processing tomatoes were harvested.

An October 24 FoodNews article details Chinese tomato processors bleak economic picture. Production costs for tomato paste are about $820‐$850/MT while paste has been selling be‐ low $800/MT.

The processors can no longer afford to lose money, and the industry is being forced to remake itself. Production is expected to be lower for the next few years and prices for paste are supposed to rise to $880‐ 900/MT.

Currently, China is the largest exporter of tomato paste in the world. In the calendar year 2011, China exported 1.12 million MT of paste.

The major producers in Europe beat their preseason forecasts.

Italy packed 4.5 million MT, down 9.1% from last year but still 3.4% above its preseason forecast. Since Italy produced more tomatoes than China, it regained the title of the world’s second-largest producer, a title lost to China in 2006.

The Italian industry struggled throughout the summer with heat waves and fruit ripening bunching, but ended strong in September surpassing forecasts.

Spain packed 1.95 million MT, the same as 2011 but 16.8% above preseason expectations.

Excellent weather resulted in high field yields in Portugal. The country produced 1.19 million MT, beating last year by 11.7% despite planting less area.

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