Although WPTC will only release its preliminary forecast for the 2023 season after its meeting in Sacramento on 14 February, the first indications are for an increased production of about one million tonnes in the AMITOM region and 1.7 million tonnes in California, while in the Southern Hemisphere countries where harvesting is now starting the rise is more limited.
The current estimate is for about a total of 2.5 to 2.7 million tonnes of tomatoes to be grown with 50 to 60% of the total volume to be processed, thus a volume of approximatively 1.35 million tonnes.
The harvest is at the peak of the winter crop and processing is in full capacity, now the supply comes from the upper Egypt governorates. Quality looks good in terms of brix and colour. The forecast for2023 is 500,000 tonnes.
The current estimate is for about 150,000 tonnes to be processed in 2023 but more information will be available after a first meeting on 10 February.
As alternative crops were not as profitable as expected in 2022, processors hope to be able to contract larger surfaces in 2023 to achieve a production of 420,000 tonnes. Current offers are for guaranteed price of 130 to 140 euros per tonne delivered.
The current expectations are for 100,000 tonnes. The price will be higher than in 2022.
The current estimate is for 5.7 million tonnes to be contracted. In the South, the reservoirs are full so everyone is optimistic there will be enough water while in the North more snow is still needed to guarantee there will be enough water for the season. Price negotiations have started but there are no agreements yet: the initial offer by processors 126 euros per tonne ex field was rejected by POs who requested 155 euros.
There was a lot of rain so water should not be an issue for this crop. Despite limited cost increases, growers want to benefit from the good market conditions are are asking for higher contract prices. There is no price agreement yet and the deadline for reporting contracts is being extended to mid-March probably (mid-February before). The current estimate is between 1.4 and 1.5 million tonnes.
The surface planted could be up to 8,000 hectares in the traditional tomato regions of Nalchik KBR, Astrakhan, Volgograd and 650,000 tonnes of tomatoes processed, a repeat of the previous result. These plans could however be changed.
The water availability has improved in Extremadura although it remains lower than in previous years, probably at 80% of needs if it rains. In Andalusia however, the situation is worst than last year with even less water in the reservoirs than in 2022. It is therefore difficult to make a forecast now but if Andalusia remains down a production of about 2.6 million tonnes can be expected. Prices should be known by 14 February when contracts must be reported. Farmers are asking for a price increase (165 euros currently).
Due to the very serious drought the Ministry of Agriculture has forbidden the planting of seasonal vegetable crop to favour arable crop on most irrigated land, except for some large private land in the North and Centre of the country. The current estimate of planting 12,000 hectares to process 600,000 tonnes seems highly optimistic.
As farmers in the south did not get the return they expected from cotton in 2022, they are more keen to plant tomatoes so the region should recover the volumes lost. Negotiations will start when the large processing companies have given their price offers.
OTHER NORTHERN HEMISPHERE COUNTRIES
According to the 2023 California Processing Tomato Report released by NASS on 25 January (see attachment), as of January, California’s tomato processors reported they have, or will have, contracts for 12.4 million short tons (11.249 million metric tonnes) in 2023, which is an increase of 18% compared to 10.5 million contracted short tons (9.5 million metric tonnes) forecast in the August 2022 California Processing Tomato Report. Processors estimate that the contracted production for 2023 will come from 248,000 acres, generating an average yield of 50.0 short tons per acre (c.113 t/ha). The contracted planted acreage forecast is 8% higher than the 2022 acreage of 229,000 reported under contract in August.
SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE COUNTRIES
The harvest in San Juan has started on 3-5 January with acceptable yields around 100 t/ha. The crops look good in a dry season.
The total area of the country is 8,200 ha with an initial forecast of 665,000 tonnes.
Australia has experienced a difficult season so far, with consistent rainfall affecting every growing region. Some early season plantings were wiped out by flooding events in October and the early season weather has been cold, with several intense wind and rain events further causing delays in the planting schedule.
National volumes have been significantly reduced, with a total of 1,631 ha planted for an estimated 139,400 tonnes of processing tomatoes.
The estimated starting date for harvest is the 15th of February.
The harvest started this week, a few days before normal. The new forecast is 1.15 million tonnes, lower than the previous forecast from last October. This reduction is mainly due to the heat waves which occurred during last December.
A harvest of 152,000 tonnes on 2,000 hectares is planned for 2023. The summer production already started in January and will end in April. The crop yields are currently set for 100 t/ha. Currently a positive season with dry field conditions which is good for harvesting. The winter production areas are 25% in the planting phase and the winter season will start in April and end in September. The average winter production is expected to yield about 70-75 t/ha. There are also processors who did not contract and thus risk the raw supply requirement to the open market availability.