New Articles

ALL THE WORLD TREASURES AN HEIRLOOM – TOMATO, THAT IS

heirloom tomato

ALL THE WORLD TREASURES AN HEIRLOOM – TOMATO, THAT IS

Everyone Can Enjoy an Heirloom

Spring weather heralds the start of weekend farmers markets offering colorful fruits and vegetables, artisanal cheeses, and home-made baked goods. Along the east coast, tomatoes play a starring role at the local farmers markets. Green, yellow, orange, brown, grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, large, small – the variety seems endless.

Farmers markets are a great way to shop fresh and seasonal, but if you can’t get there, you can still find an increasingly impressive selection of tomatoes at your local grocery store. Are the tomatoes in the organic corner market the same tomatoes you get from the farmer? Unlikely. For the most part local farmers cannot sustain supply to large grocery chains where consumers are demand tomatoes year round. To meet that demand, the business of the heirloom tomato has grown global.

Pimp my Tomato

Italians made tomatoes a kitchen staple, but the tomato didn’t originate in Europe. Researchers have traced its origin to the “pimp,” a pea-sized red fruit that grows naturally in Peru and Southern Ecuador. As with so many foods we love, the Mexicans domesticated the tomato and Spanish explorers brought it home, where locals created a sweeter and tastier, but also more vulnerable, tomato.

Whether due to the preferences of grocers or their shoppers, the market overwhelmingly demands that growers focus on the few breeds of tomatoes that dominate our grocery shelves today. Producers worked to change the characteristics of tomatoes through cross-pollination in order to increase yield, to produce uniform shapes and sizes with smooth skin, and to render the tomatoes hardier for transport. Tomatoes are picked while green and artificially ripened with ethylene gas, sacrificing better taste for better looks (the flavor comes from the sugars that develop as the tomato ripens naturally).

partial-dg-pimp-tomato-graphic-for-web

Photo: The pimp fruit by David Griffen, Smithsonian.com

The New (Old) Tomato

The strict definition of heirloom tomato is a variety of tomato that has been openly pollinated for more than 50 years. Today, most experts would consider heirlooms as any non-hybrid tomato. Unlike heirlooms, many hybrid vegetables and fruits, while resilient and uniform, produce seeds that cannot reproduce. Therefore, the open pollination principle for heirlooms is key. As a result, it is the seed savers and gardeners with a flair for history that helped propel heirloom tomatoes to their elite status.

In the last decade, consumers started going back to the tomato’s heirloom roots. Top restaurants, prominent chefs, cooking magazines, the farm-to-table movement, and the proliferation of farmers markets have all put heirloom tomato flavor on display. Americans have become more tomato-curious than ever.

Regional is the New Local

Generally speaking, the entire world loves a tomato. As the most consumed vegetable in the world, we devour 130 million tons of tomatoes every year, of which 88 million are sold fresh. The remaining 42 million tons are destined for processing into tomato sauce and other products. China, the European Union, India, the United States, and Turkey are the world’s top producers.

Trade in tomatoes tends to be regional. Asia, Europe, and Africa represent 45 percent, 22 percent, and 12 percent, respectively, of global production, and much of what’s grown in one region is traded there. France, for example, is the fifth largest producer of tomatoes in Europe, exporting one quarter of its production across the European continent, primarily to Germany.

North American Tomato Trade – A Tasty NAFTA Product

About half of fresh tomatoes consumed in the United States are imported. The government applies tariffs to fresh tomatoes from countries we don’t have a free trade agreement with, and the tariffs fluctuate based on the timing of the U.S. growing season. From March 1 to July 14 (when Florida’s volume is highest and California and southeastern producing states begin to ship commercial tomatoes), it’s 3.9 cents per kilogram. Between July 15 until August 31, it goes down to 2.8 cents per kilogram (availability of locally grown tomatoes is highest). September 1 to November 14, it goes up again to 3.9 cents per kilogram. For the remainder of our winter, November 15 until March 1, it goes back down to 2.8 cents per kilogram.

Nearly all of fresh tomatoes we import into the United States come from Mexico (89 percent) and Canada (10 percent) duty-free under NAFTA. NAFTA partners are also the primary destinations for exported American tomatoes, with 77 percent of our exports going to Canada and 20 percent to Mexico. (The United States manufactures 96 percent of the tomatoes it uses in processing.)

Even though they enter the United States duty-free, tomatoes from Mexico are subject to minimum prices that vary based on the season; the price floor for winter tomatoes ranges from 31 cents to 59 cents, while summer tomato prices vary between 24.6 to 46.8 cents, depending on the tomato category. This is because Mexico has gotten very efficient at producing tomatoes year-round, which concerns some segments of American growers, particularly in Florida.

Florida growers are seeking changes to U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings in the current renegotiations of NAFTA to allow them to pursue dumping cases based on pricing in one specific season versus relying on three years of data, as is currently required. This proposal has created rifts among U.S. growers – primarily Southeast growers who support it and Western growers who fear its consequences. Mexico has also expressed strong opposition. American producers of other fruits and vegetables have also publicly opposed the proposal. They worry Mexico could use the same approach against American exporters of perishable produce.

Global, Regional, Local – It’s All Good

Our love for tomatoes will not recede any time soon. Improvements in technology are helping farmers increase their yields while maintaining or even reducing the acreage they are devoting to tomatoes. But even as trade routes for tomatoes are increasing and broadening, the allure and specialness of a locally-grown fresh tomato remains.

Tomatoes are the most popular plant for amateur home gardeners like myself. And with spring in full bloom, it’s only a matter of time before local tomatoes explode onto the scene in our neighborhood farmers market, exhibiting their versatility and flavor. The heirloom tomato has once again returned to prominence – just sprinkle a little salt on it, and take a satisfying bite. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

___________________________________________________________________

Ayelet Haran

Ayelet Haran is a contributor to TradeVistas. She is a government affairs and policy executive in the life sciences industry. She holds a Master’s of Public Administration degree in International Economic Policy from Columbia University.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

tomatoes

IS A TOMATO A FRUIT OR VEGETABLE? BOTANISTS AND TRADERS DISAGREE.

Adults sometimes stop asking questions like “Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?” Recently, my middle school-aged daughter quizzed us over dinner on this. She knew the answer because one of her classmates had recently presented on the legal answer in debate class. I was bemused that it came down to a Supreme Court decision emanating from a customs dispute. Here’s the answer, and some trade trivia on which countries export the most tomatoes. Some of the up and comers are quite intriguing.

Nix v. Hedden

In a decision rendered on May 10, 1893, the Supreme Court handed down its answer to whether the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable. Under the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883, vegetables were assessed a tariff of 10 percent ad valorem. Fruits could be imported duty-free. In Nix v. Hedden, Mr. John Nix brought a case against Edward Hedden, a customs officer at the port of New York, seeking to recover duties he paid under protest on tomatoes imported from the West Indies. Nix had to prove the tomato should be considered a fruit for the purpose of determining the import duty.

In Commerce and Common Parlance

Nix’s counsel read from Webster’s Dictionary, Worcester’s Dictionary, and the Imperial Dictionary, all of which defined “fruit” as the seed of plants or that part of plants containing the seed, reinforcing the textbook categorization of the tomato as a fruit. (To the botanist or natural historian, that’s the final word. The tomato is a fruit of the vine.)

But then the court heard from longtime sellers of fruits and vegetables. The witnesses suggested, and the court agreed, that in the common language of consumers and sellers, tomatoes are considered more like other vegetables than fruits. As Justice Gray put it in his summary, “vegetables…are usually served at dinner in, with, or after the soup, fish, or meat, which constitute the principal part of the repast, and not, like fruits, generally as dessert.” To this day, tomatoes are classified as a vegetable in Chapter 7 of the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

We Grow a Lot More Tomatoes Today

The United States is one of the world’s leading producers of tomatoes, second only to China. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fresh and processed tomatoes generate more than $2 billion in annual U.S. farm cash receipts.

Every U.S. state produces fresh market tomatoes. About twenty produce at a commercial scale. California and Florida devote 30-40,000 acres each to fresh market tomato production – somewhere between two-thirds and three-fourths of production – followed by Virginia, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Michigan.

Trade Allows Us to Eat Tomatoes All Year

We grow a lot of tomatoes, but we also eat a lot of tomatoes. Commercial sales of fresh tomatoes in the United States are strongest in the spring when they aren’t competing with availability of local tomatoes. But we can enjoy fresh-market tomatoes all year-round because of imports. Mexico tends to fill in the seasonal supply gap for consumers in western U.S. states, and to a lesser degree in the east since Florida produces a winter crop. U.S. greenhouse and hydroponic tomatoes also make up some the difference, but generally, about one-third of the fresh tomatoes we consume are imported. Mexico also accounts for more than 70 percent of the U.S. import market for greenhouse tomatoes. Canada supplies another 27 percent.

Chapter 7 of the Tariff Schedule Again

Mexican producers are competitive with California and Florida producers in the U.S. market. Worried about imports from Mexico eating into their sales, U.S. tomato producers petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce to investigate whether Mexican producers were selling fresh-market tomatoes in the U.S. market below fair market value, undercutting the U.S. price. The investigation was suspended when Mexico entered into a negotiated agreement in 1996 that required the majority of fresh-market tomatoes imported from Mexico to adhere to an agreed minimum price.

In subsequent and more recent revisions to that agreement, the types of tomatoes covered under the agreement expanded, the tomato season was split into two periods to cover the summer and winter seasons —each with a separate minimum price, and the floor price was increased. The period between July 1 and October 22 targets competition between California and Baja, Mexico. From October 23 to June 30, Mexican fresh-market tomatoes must meet a higher minimum price to address competition between Florida and Sinaloa, Mexico. While we don’t impose duties on imports from our free trade agreement partners, the general duty for imports from other countries also varies depending on when in the growing season the tomatoes are imported. Either way, it’s the American consumer that foots the bill of the higher prices.

Outside North America, Azerbaijan is a Fast Grower

American fresh-tomato growers typically export 6 to 7 percent of their supply. About three-fourths of those exports go to Canada. U.S. exports to Mexico are a distant second. While American, Mexican — and to a lesser extent – Canadian, growers battle for North American market share, these fifteen countries globally exported the highest values of tomatoes during 2016, accounting for over 92 percent of global trade in tomatoes.

What might surprise you the most is the last four on this list. At number 13, Azerbaijan’s exports have grown 380 percent since 2012. China’s exports grew over that period by 119 percent, Belarus by 55.5 percent, and India grew its tomato exports by 42 percent.

World Tomato Exports in 2016

______________________________________________________________________

Andrea Durkin is the Editor-in-Chief of TradeVistas and Founder of Sparkplug, LLC. Ms. Durkin previously served as a U.S. Government trade negotiator and has proudly taught international trade policy and negotiations for the last fifteen years as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Foreign Service program.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

tomatoes

IMPORTED TOMATOES FROM MEXICO HAVE SOME U.S. GROWERS SEEING RED

Tomato Trade Tensions Simmering Again

Nothing says “summer” like a fresh tomato. And thanks to trade, tomatoes aren’t just a seasonal treat for Americans. A trade policy battle, however, over our favorite little red vegetable that had simmered on the back burner for decades recently heated up again and might have threatened our ability to enjoy tomatoes year round.

While NAFTA – now replaced by the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – eliminated trade barriers for most agricultural exports, trade in tomatoes between the United States and Mexico remains complicated to this day. U.S. growers have made a fresh push for the Administration to protect domestic tomato production against imports of increasingly competitive Mexican produce.

Seasons of Discontent

The United States is the second largest producer of tomatoes in the world, but with each American eating an average of more than 20 pounds of tomatoes a year, we import them to satisfy high demand. Mexico is the largest exporter in the world and the United States’ top international supplier. Of the $2.4 billion worth of tomatoes the United States imported in 2019, $2.1 billion came from Mexico, representing 87.5 percent of total U.S. tomato imports.

MX imports of tomoatoes

Although Mexico exports a wide variety of seasonal produce to the United States ranging from bell peppers to blueberries, it’s trade in tomatoes that has been a consistent source of tension. That’s because tomatoes are one of the highest valued fresh vegetable crops in the United States and Mexican tomatoes directly compete with tomatoes grown in the state of Florida during the winter and early summer.

Over the last two decades, U.S. tomato production has declined substantially while Mexican imports increased. And while Florida is still the top tomato state in the nation, production there has declined steadily since 2000. Florida once had 300 tomato growers, but now has fewer than 50. Labor is one major reason for this change. Fresh tomatoes are largely picked by hand – and farm workers are increasingly hard to find and expensive.

MX v FLA

Animated Suspension

Throughout this downward trend, the American tomato industry has complained that Mexican growers have an unfair advantage. The Mexican tomato industry has significantly ramped up production not just thanks to lower labor costs, but also extensive support from the Mexican government in the form of capital for producers, investment in infrastructure and technology to modernize the industry, and other subsidies throughout the supply chain.

The American tomato industry first filed a case with U.S. trade agencies back in the 1970s seeking relief from competition from low priced tomatoes from Mexico, which they alleged were being sold at less than fair market value in the United States (or “dumped”). The antidumping case was ultimately dropped, but after NAFTA was enacted, Florida tomato growers renewed their complaint, claiming Mexican tomatoes were a threat to the domestic industry. The U.S. International Trade Commission found in favor of U.S. growers. Facing potential antidumping tariffs on their exports, Mexican growers in 1996 entered into what’s known as a “suspension agreement.”

By law, the Commerce Department can suspend an antidumping duty or countervailing duty investigation when the parties in the case reach an agreement that meets certain statutory and policy criteria. Under the tomato suspension agreement, the Mexican industry agreed to reduce production and meet a minimum price floor for fresh tomatoes. Suspension agreements require ongoing monitoring to ensure compliance through a process that is completely separate from NAFTA or USMCA. The tomato suspension agreement of 1996 has been updated and expanded three times: in 2002, 2008 and 2013.

To-may-to, To-mah-to, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

The suspension agreements were intended to prevent further dumping and injury to the U.S. tomato industry. However, growers in the U.S. southeast have said the agreements were not successful in achieving that goal because provisions were either unenforceable or subject to loopholes. With those concerns in mind, the Florida Tomato Exchange submitted a request to the Commerce Department in November 2018 to terminate the 2013 suspension agreement.

In February 2019, the Commerce Department notified the Mexican government of its intention to withdraw. On May 7, the U.S. government officially terminated the 2013 suspension agreement and enacted a 17.56 percent duty on imported Mexican tomatoes. Some expressed concern the move would stir up a trade war between the two countries, leading to higher prices for consumers and a reduction in the winter tomato supply as Mexican growers shifted their acreage to other crops, though the Administration stated its willingness to resolve the dispute even as its antidumping investigation continued.

Then, in September 2019, the Administration announced a new suspension agreement had been reached with Mexican exporters, effectively putting an end to the investigation. The new agreement is meant to protect U.S. producers from being undercut on prices. It includes audits and border inspections to prevent imports of low-quality tomatoes that could have a similar effect of depressing prices.

USMCA’s Rotten Tomatoes

At the same time that the antidumping investigation was playing out, USMCA was picking up steam on Capitol Hill. After receiving bipartisan support in the House and Senate, USMCA was signed into law on January 29, 2020 and entered into force on July 1, 2020, officially replacing NAFTA. It is easy to see why most American farmers and ranchers rallied support for USMCA. Canada is the top market for U.S. farm products, with Mexico following in the number two spot. U.S. agricultural exports to both countries totaled $44 billion in 2018.

However, one vocal segment of the U.S. agriculture industry was not entirely happy with the USMCA provisions. Fresh produce growers in the U.S. southeast expressed concern that Mexico continued to undercut their prices, dumping cheap fruits and vegetables in the market during their peak harvest time. Farmers from states including Georgia and Florida argued they had watched NAFTA erode their share of the U.S. market and that USMCA was an opportunity to provide a remedy.

American growers from the southern region pushed for new protections in USMCA through antidumping and countervailing duty provisions as a way to even the playing field from what they see as unfair subsidies, labor and environmental practices by Mexico that make U.S.-grown specialty crops like tomatoes and blueberries less competitive.

To create some leverage in the USMCA negotiations, lawmakers from the southeast region introduced legislation, the Defending Domestic Produce Production Act, designed to make it easier for seasonal growers to petition the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate Mexico’s subsidies and dumping of cheap produce. This change would measure injury to industries with short harvest windows (like tomatoes and strawberries) on a seasonal basis rather than having to prove nation-wide, year-round harm.

Congressional letter on tomatoes

Hybrid Views in the Produce Industry

But the U.S. produce industry is not unified in its criticism of seasonal produce imports from Mexico or in its support for a trade remedy to the problem. Growers and distributors in western states like California and Arizona argued against including changes in USMCA because many of those companies work in both the United States and Mexico to ensure fresh produce is available year round. They also worried that Mexico would use the same approach against American produce like apples and grapes. Industry groups in Nogales, Arizona opposed the changes as well, citing a negative ripple effect on their economy if the produce from Mexico that passes through gateway communities were significantly reduced.

Twenty-three Senators and U.S. House members from Arizona, Texas, and California sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative opposing attempts to insert seasonal antidumping language into USMCA. The lawmakers wrote: “using USMCA as a vehicle for pursuing seasonal agriculture trade remedies risks pitting different regions of the country against each other.”

While the Trump Administration initially seemed sympathetic to the southeastern growers’ complaints, the provisions ultimately did not make it into USMCA given the concerns of other producers in the sector who would be potential targets for retaliation from Mexico. But the Administration committed to continue an investigation into the issue.

Is the Dispute Ripening Again?

In August 2020, USTR, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Commerce held two hearings to collect feedback about whether trade policies are harming American seasonal produce growers. The hearings are part of an effort promised by the Administration to respond to any trade distorting practices within two months of USCMA going into effect.

At the listening sessions, lawmakers and growers from southeastern states spoke out about how their sector is impacted by subsidies and other practices by Mexico that they believe are hurting American agriculture. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) asked the Administration to use Section 301 authority to investigate and potentially take retaliatory action against Mexico.

Following the hearings, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he is working with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to come up with a plan to address the growers’ concerns by September 1. What action the Administration may take to protect American producers – notably located in states like Florida that may be key for the president’s re-election bid – remains to be seen.

What we do know is that southeastern produce growers seem cautiously optimistic that the new suspension agreement for tomatoes will be more effective than past iterations. And while most Americans are likely unaware of the ongoing tomato trade tension between the U.S. and Mexico, shoppers undoubtedly benefit from year-round access to affordable fresh produce.

______________________________________________________________

Sarah Hubbart provides communications strategy, content creation, and social media management for TradeVistas. A native of rural Northern California, Sarah has melded communications and policy throughout her career in Washington, D.C., serving in government affairs, issues management, and coalition building roles in the agricultural sector. She is an alum of California State University, Chico and George Washington University.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

tomatoes

Turkey Emerges as the Largest Producer of Tomatoes in the Middle East

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘Middle East – Tomatoes – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the tomato market in the Middle East amounted to $18.6B in 2018, declining by -8.5% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price).

The market value increased at an average annual rate of +1.6% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being observed throughout the analyzed period. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2017 with an increase of 25% against the previous year. In that year, the tomato market attained its peak level of $20.3B, and then declined slightly in the following year.

Consumption by Country

The countries with the highest volumes of tomato consumption in 2018 were Turkey (12M tonnes), Iran (6.5M tonnes) and Syrian Arab Republic (658K tonnes), together accounting for 86% of total consumption. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iraq lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 7.9%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of tomato consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Jordan, while tomato consumption for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest tomato markets in the Middle East were Turkey ($10.5B), Iran ($5.3B) and Israel ($559M), with a combined 88% share of the total market. These countries were followed by Iraq, Jordan, Syrian Arab Republic and Saudi Arabia, which together accounted for a further 6.4%.

The countries with the highest levels of tomato per capita consumption in 2018 were Turkey (144 kg per person), Iran (79 kg per person) and Jordan (57 kg per person).

Market Forecast to 2030

Driven by increasing demand for tomatoes in the Middle East, the market is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next decade. Market performance is forecast to retain its current trend pattern, expanding with an anticipated CAGR of +1.6% for the period from 2018 to 2030, which is projected to bring the market volume to 27M tonnes by the end of 2030.

Production in the Middle East

The tomato production stood at 22.2M tonnes in 2018, remaining constant against the previous year. In general, tomato production continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2009 when production volume increased by 5.3% year-to-year.

In value terms, tomato production stood at $19.8B in 2018 estimated in export prices. The total output value increased at an average annual rate of +1.6% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded over the period under review. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2017 with an increase of 36% y-o-y. In that year, tomato production attained its peak level of $21.5B, and then declined slightly in the following year.

Production by Country

The countries with the highest volumes of tomato production in 2018 were Turkey (12M tonnes) and Iran (6.6M tonnes), with a combined 84% share of total production.

Harvested Area in the Middle East

In 2018, approx. 415K ha of tomatoes were harvested in the Middle East; standing approx. at the previous year. Over the period under review, the tomato harvested area continues to indicate a mild curtailment. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2008 with an increase of 4% y-o-y. In that year, the tomato harvested area reached its peak level of 493K ha. From 2009 to 2018, the growth of the tomato harvested area remained at a lower figure.

Yield in the Middle East

In 2018, the average yield of tomatoes in the Middle East stood at 53 tonne per ha, stabilizing at the previous year. The yield figure increased at an average annual rate of +2.1% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with only minor fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2009 with an increase of 7.2% year-to-year. The level of tomato yield peaked in 2018 and is likely to continue its growth in the near future.

Exports in the Middle East

In 2018, the exports of tomatoes in the Middle East stood at 782K tonnes, rising by 14% against the previous year. In value terms, tomato exports amounted to $618M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Exports by Country

Turkey (379K tonnes) and Jordan (258K tonnes) represented roughly 81% of total exports of tomatoes in 2018. It was distantly followed by Iran (84K tonnes), committing an 11% share of total exports. Syrian Arab Republic (32K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main exporting countries, was attained by Iran, while exports for the other leaders experienced mixed trends in the exports figures.

In value terms, Turkey ($339M) remains the largest tomato supplier in the Middle East, comprising 55% of total tomato exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Jordan ($168M), with a 27% share of total exports. It was followed by Iran, with a 12% share.

In Turkey, tomato exports increased at an average annual rate of +1.2% over the period from 2007-2018. In the other countries, the average annual rates were as follows: Jordan (-0.4% per year) and Iran (+33.5% per year).

Export Prices by Country

The tomato export price in the Middle East stood at $791 per tonne in 2018, leveling off at the previous year.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major exporting countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Iran ($913 per tonne), while Syrian Arab Republic ($463 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Jordan, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports in the Middle East

In 2018, the tomato imports in the Middle East totaled 602K tonnes, jumping by 6.9% against the previous year. In value terms, tomato imports amounted to $366M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Imports by Country

Saudi Arabia (155K tonnes) and the United Arab Emirates (143K tonnes) represented roughly 50% of total imports of tomatoes in 2018. Kuwait (68K tonnes) took the next position in the ranking, followed by Iraq (67K tonnes), Qatar (49K tonnes), Oman (32K tonnes), Israel (31K tonnes) and Bahrain (31K tonnes). All these countries together accounted for a 46% share of total imports.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main importing countries, was attained by Israel, while imports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Saudi Arabia ($98M), the United Arab Emirates ($86M) and Kuwait ($49M) constituted the countries with the highest levels of imports in 2018, together accounting for 64% of total imports. Qatar, Iraq, Israel, Oman and Bahrain lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 32%.

In terms of the main importing countries, Oman recorded the highest rates of growth with regard to the value of imports, over the period under review, while imports for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Import Prices by Country

The tomato import price in the Middle East stood at $608 per tonne in 2018, reducing by -13.2% against the previous year.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was Israel ($725 per tonne), while Iraq ($369 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by the United Arab Emirates.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform