- 13 Sep 2023 4:44 AM
- Hungary Today
The success of the sector in recent years is illustrated by the fact that the products grown and processed in Hungary are not only found on the shelves of domestic shops, but also in many European countries.
According to a joint forecast by the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture and the FruitVeb – Hungarian Fruit and Vegetables Interbranch Organization, growers could harvest around 100,000 tons of tomatoes this year.
Despite the many challenges faced by domestic producers in recent years, industrial tomatoes are one of the few vegetable crops that have been able to close the past few years successfully.
While 1,417 hectares of industrial tomatoes were grown in Hungary last year, this year the number is 1,465 hectares, with the largest areas in Békés and Bács-Kiskun counties in southern Hungary.
Harvesting started later than planned this year, in the second half of August, and is expected to last until early October. The actual quantity and quality this year may still be strongly influenced by the weather during harvest. Rainy weather in late autumn could lead to serious quality deterioration and yield losses.
100 percent of tomatoes grown in the open field are destined for domestic processors, but raw material is also supplied to factories from neighboring countries such as Romania and Serbia.
The largest player in the market is responsible for processing around 1,060 hectares of domestic tomatoes, while crops harvested from the remaining areas are also used by domestic processors. The state-of-the-art supply allows harvesting and processing to take place at a steady pace, benefiting both producers and suppliers.
From ketchup to various concentrates, the home-grown tomatoes are used to make a wide range of products that are not only available on the domestic market, but are also supplied to neighboring European countries.
The analysis points out that the world purchase price of tomato concentrate continues to rise, as in recent years.
Favorable supply conditions and cultivation technology are also in place, and the sector has the potential for further growth.
Tomatoes for industrial use can only be grown economically on irrigated land, so it is important to increase this capacity and the area under irrigation, which is complicated by the current water permits and regulations.
A further challenge is the increasing withdrawal of pesticide active substances in the EU, limiting the options for crop protection.
Given the challenges of recent years, some farmers involved in arable crops have also seen the potential of industrial tomato production, and it is possible that as the crisis in the cereals market continues, the area for tomatoes for industrial purposes in Hungary will increase in the future.