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31 July 2015

Tomatoes: the red gold red of food production

The Italian tomato industry is in third place for global production, with demand growing.

Over the last 25 years tomato production worldwide has doubled while using the same resources and amount of soil.

In 2014, world production of tomatoes was close to 40 million tons and this year the trend is likely to increase again, with European / Mediterranean and American manufacturers producing the most, with Chinese production declining. Among the European and Mediterranean producers, Italy is the leader. This is the background to the establishment of World Tomato Week at EXPO Milano.

As he had announced previously, the Under-secretary for the Economy Paola De Micheli, said “the objective of the week dedicated to red gold is to tell Italian and foreign consumers we have become a leader in this industry, because we not only did a lot of work, but also a lot of brainwork. We must build a single platform that promotes tomatoes “Made in Italy”. Let’s take the opportunity of the Expo to tell this success story.”

With this central theme for discussion, the objective was reached: on Wednesday 17 June, an agreement was signed between the tomato-growing areas of both North and South Italy, united in facing the challenges of the global market. The signing ceremony was attended by the Minister of Agriculture Maurizio Martina, the Under-secretary for the Economy Paola De Micheli, the Presidents of the main trade associations, the Interprofessional Organizations for Tomatoes, Pier Luigi Ferrari form the north of Italy and Annibale Pancrazio from the south and centre.

The agreement commits the two regions to state how they will exchange data on areas intended for the large-scale cultivation of tomatoes; the quantities contracted; the amounts delivered to companies for processing; and on tomato production numbers (and tomato products).

The information will be aggregated for producing regions and will be used for the development of national sector data for external bodies. Initiatives on sharing data with other organisations and defining goals will also be in place. All this information will be used to further develop the production, innovation and the capacity for mechanization in the industry. The most suitable strategies for developing new markets for Italian tomatoes will then be identified.


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