Portugal has so far produced around 1.2 million tons of tomatoes on just 13,000 hectares of land this year, representing a record breaking production rate for the country.
The Association of Tomato Industries (AIT) revealed last week that production this year “has surpassed all initial expectations, not only because of the excellent weather conditions, but also due to the degree of competitiveness, quality, innovation and development which characterise the sector.”
Tomato production in the country is so high that Portugal is now the world’s second largest producer of tomatoes, surpassed only by the American state of California.
Portugal is also the world’s fifth largest tomato exporter, with an annual average revenue of around €250 million.
However, the AIT has warned that proposals for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) could lead to funding cuts for Portuguese tomato farmers.
The AIT highlighted in a statement to the press that: “With this renegotiation proposal, in two years the funding could go from €2,100 per hectare to just €179, and this in a sector characterised by huge investment risks and a high degree of specialisation.”
Miguel Cambezes, the AIT’s general secretary, said: “If the proposal for the new CAP is approved as it is now, many growers may have to give up and we could see a 40% reduction in production, which would endanger the financial viability of many agricultural activities.”