Frutas y HortalizasJul. 29, 2016
El mal momento de los tomates procesados californianos (texto en inglés)
These are rotten times for California’s tomato farmers as an oversupply of processed tomatoes and weaker demand have pushed prices lower.
“Margins are pretty thin this year,” said Bruce Rominger, who grows tomatoes just outside the Northern California town of Winters. “If you don’t have a good yield, you won’t make any money this year.”
After two consecutive years of increased production, tomato processors this year cut the size of contracted tonnage with California growers by nearly 10 percent from a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Processors coupled the downsizing with a reduction in the contracted price by about 12 percent from last year.
Tomato producer Mark Borba in Huron, California, said the grower price for tomatoes “helped farmers make a decision. In many cases, it’s not economic. Processors said the only way we can get this industry healthy again is to cut back on our processing and liquidate some of our inventories.”
California produces more than 95 percent of the nation’s processed tomatoes and about one-third of the world’s crop. Processed tomatoes get turned into everything from tomato paste, soup and sauces to salsa and ketchup.
“Our costs have gone through the roof, principally the water, and our price from the processors has been cut,” said Borba, who is in the middle of harvesting his tomato crop in the San Joaquin Valley — the state’s major agricultural region and epicenter of the drought.
For this season, processing tomato growers in California received a $72.50 per ton contract price from processors for their crop compared with $80 a ton last year.