General Secretary of World Processing Tomato Council (WPTC) in an exclusive interview at Agrotypos

For the news of international processing tomato sector spoke in an exclusive interview at Agrotypos, Sophie Colvine, the General Secretary of the World Processing Tomato Council (WPTC). For Greece the General Secretary recognizes that potential production remains strong, despite the significant reduction in cultivated area in previous years, if investments are made by both growers and processors. She also stresses the importance of cooperation between producers and processors to organize the production and improve technology and how this can be achieved through inter-professional organizations. Finally the General Secretary informed us that the next meeting of WPTC be held in Greece in June 2018, where they will celebrate the 20th anniversary. Regarding the future of processing tomato, “the current development that will bring advances to the production of tomatoes for processing are the optimization of all operations through modelisation, use of “big data” for collection of information by sensors and drones”, said the General Secretary of WPTC.

How has the processing tomato market been developed during the last years? Which are the main statistics of the processing tomato sector (production, imports, exports etc)?

The production and consumption of tomato products in the world has been increasing on average by 3% annually over the last two decades, from about 25 million tonnes in 1995, to 32 million tonnes in 2005 and 41 million tonnes in 2015. At the same time the global trade in tomato products has also increased, doubling in value between 2005 and 2013 and reaching 6.9 billion US dollars in 2014. While Italy remains the largest exporter of tomato products in the world with more than 1.2 million tonnes of canned tomatoes exported in 2015 (the second largest Spain only exporting 145 000 tonnes) and 656 000 tonnes of tomato paste, China is the largest exported of tomato paste with 990 000 tonnes, before the USA with 459 000 tonnes.

Which are the main trends regarding the cultivated area and production in the world? Spain has doubled its production during the last 3 seasons, while China’s production seems to reach a plateau after an explosive entrance in the world market for processing tomatoes. What do you expect mid term?

Although tomatoes are processed in a large number of countries around the world, the ten largest countries represent 87% of the total volume of 41.3 million tonnes processed in 2015. With 13 million tonnes processed in 2015, California is by far the biggest producer, with China (5.6 million tonnes) and Italy (5.4 million tonnes) jostling for the second position. These are followed by Spain which has indeed seen it production increase rapidly over the last few years to 3 million tonnes, as have Turkey (2.7 million tonnes) and Portugal (1.6 million tonnes). It is difficult to predict how the industry will evolve in the next few years as many factors are at play, and many of these such as exchange rates, custom duties or freight costs are out of the control of the industry. A few years ago, who would have predicted that the Chinese industry would scale down its production and close many new factories after growing so rapidly and being seen as a major threat by other processing countries?

Are there any innovative techniques that are used in processing tomato cultivation?

After the advances brought in by fertigation and irrigation management and modern hybrids in the last couple of decades, the current development that will bring advances to the production of tomatoes for processing are the optimization of all operations through modelisation, use of “big data” for collection of information by sensors and drones, …which enable to better target irrigation, fertilization and treatments to the fields and to schedule harvest.

California processing tomato growers currently produce many more tons per hectare than they have in the past. How they managed to increase the yield? Is the “California model” the example to follow?

Fields yields in California have gone from an average of 85 t/ha in the early 2000 to 110 t/ha now, and seem to continue to increase. The region benefits from excellent conditions for producing tomatoes with the availability of suitable land and near perfect weather conditions. Although these factors may not be transferred to another country, many of their production methods like the generalized use of targeted fertigation, use of new hybrid varieties adapted to the conditions, the professionalization of the growers, a strong network of researchers and farm advisers can be copied and help other regions to also further increase their yields.

 How important is the interaction between professional grower organizations and the processing industry in order to keep the sector viable for all parts involved?

Tomato processors and growers need each other and the industry can only be viable long term if a win-win balance is achieved so that both parties can run a profitable business. Cooperation between them is needed to organize the production and improve technology and this can be through inter-professional organizations such as the ones which have existed in France for many years or have recently been set-up in Italy or through good relationship between one factory and its growers.

Do you believe that there is potential to increase the world consumption of processed tomato?

Worldwide, the consumption of tomato products has grown at an estimated rate of 3.3% per year over the last eighteen years to reach about 39 million metric tonnes equivalent fresh tomatoes in 2014. Consumption in 2016 is estimated at about 40 million tonnes and the current production forecasts of 39.4 million tonnes means that the market should be balanced. While demography (larger population) plays some role in the increased consumption, it is encouraging to see that the main driver for growth is increased per capita consumption in most regions around the world. The average consumption per capita is now 5.4 kg/year when it was only 4 kg/year in 1996/97. While the consumption is more or less stable in high consuming developed countries like Western Europe and North America, where the consumption per capita is on average 22 kg/year, consumption is increasing at a rapid pace in Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle-East which now represent more than 50% of the total volumes consumed, against only 30% 15 years ago.

 How important is Greece for the global tomato production and what do you suggest the Greek tomato growers to do?

While the production in many countries has increased, Greece has seen is production decline, and it now processes about half a million tonnes of tomatoes when at its peak in the late 1990s it processed 1.2 million tonnes. It remains however one of the top 10 exporter of tomato paste with more than 50 000 tonnes exported annually. The reduction in the production is due to the closure of small companies and the concentration of the industry, although the agricultural potential remains here if investment are made by both growers and processors.

 Tell us a few things about the story and importance of the World Processing Tomato Council.

The World Processing Tomato Council (WPTC) was set-up at the initiative of the Mediterranean International Association of the Processing Tomato (AMITOM) in 1998 after several years of discussion, to provide a forum for everyone in the industry worldwide to meet, exchange ideas, promote the consumption of tomato products worldwide and lobby together the Codex Alimentarius for new standards for tomato products. Since then its members meet at least twice a year and every two years, organize the World Processing Tomato Congresses to give everyone associated with the industry, from seed breeder, growers, processors, marketers, equipment manufacturers, researchers, … the unique opportunity to meet and discuss all issues affecting the sector. It is unique as it combines a scientific symposium, where researchers working in universities and research centers around the world come and present their work, with the congress itself and a post-congress tour to get a closer insight in the local agricultural and industrial conditions. More than 400 participants took part in the congress held in Santiago (Chile) in March 2016 which was a great turnout for the first event of this type to be held in the growing market of South America. The next congress will take place in Greece in June 2018 and promises to attract even more participants keen to use this opportunity to discover an amazing country and its numerous islands. It will also be the perfect place to celebrate the 20th anniversary of WPTC.

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Apply for the Data revolution seminar organized by the agricultural European Innovation Partnership (eip-agri)

Data revolution in the agri-food sector: Development of ICT and sensor based technologies, procedures and software have enormously increased the amount of data collected, and available, in agricultural sectors and through the whole supply chain (from farm to fork). The appearance and adoption of biosensors, nanotechnology, low-cost electronics, the Internet of Things or remote sensing devices, among others, will boost even further the data domain. This scenario offers significant potential for new data driven business models. Continue reading Apply for the Data revolution seminar organized by the agricultural European Innovation Partnership (eip-agri)

General Director of International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) in an exclusive interview at Agrotypos

For the news of international vine and wine sector spoke in an exclusive interview at Agrotypos, Jean Marie Aurand, the General Director of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). According to Mr. Jean Marie Aurand, world wine production is still increasing, while export value has reached EUR 26 billion. Concerning new plantations of vineyards, the area in Europe remains stable and there is an increase of plantations in Asia and particularly in China, which in 2014 took the second place in the world ranking of countries with the largest area of vineyards. Regarding the introduction of technology in viticulture, the Director General of OIV says that precision viticulture is spreading worldwide. In his statement for Greek winegrowers and winemakers, he outlines that they should produce products that meet consumer expectations. Continue reading General Director of International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) in an exclusive interview at Agrotypos

Commissioner Hogan in Strasbourg presented simplification measures of penalty system for direct payments

hogan_declarations_payments

Photo by Olgierd Rudak / CC BY 4.0

Simplification measures of penalty system in the case of incorrect declarations for direct payments were presented by the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Mr. Phil Hogan in Strasbourg. Mr. Hogan listed the latest measures which would “eliminate the climate of fear” prevailing with the current penalty point system. According to him the simplification package consists of three complementary elements a) preliminary checks of aid applications b) simplified system of administrative penalties for direct payments c) a ”yellow card” system for first offenders. Continue reading Commissioner Hogan in Strasbourg presented simplification measures of penalty system for direct payments

Young Farmers: Their main problems in the EU and the new pilot project exchange programme

Young Farmers main problems in the EU

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Chios Mastic: Agreements with global «giants» of pharmaceutical and parapharmaceutical products

Chios Mastic: Agreements with global «giants» of pharmaceutical and parapharmaceutical products

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Press trip to Paris – Toulouse: France, the leader in maize seed production. The role of FNPSMS federation

In the beginning is … the seed. On this claim is based the role of the French National Federation of Seed Maize and Seed Sorghum Production (FNPSMS), which in recent decades has focused -through research- to the optimization of its hybrids. The main aim of FNPSMS is to strengthen its member companies to increase their sales and to serve the European farmers who are always seeking for seed that guarantee the best possible production (qualitatively and quantitatively). These efforts have succeeded as France today is the Europe’s leading seed producer country in the world and holds the 1st place for maize seed exports. Agrotypos participated in a journalistic mission in France (Paris and Toulouse, September 28-30) in the frame of FNPSMS’s informative presentation about the breeding, production and marketing of maize hybrid seed. According to what was mentioned, the seed production is essentially the first link in the agricultural chain and the starting point in the food chain, moreover the seed is the basis and has to satisfy the requirements of farmers and consumers (since the final products targeting them). The objective of the efforts made by FNPSMS is the produced maize hybrid seeds to have increased productivity, reduced inputs (of pesticides and chemical fertilizers) and be more environmentally friendly. Continue reading Press trip to Paris – Toulouse: France, the leader in maize seed production. The role of FNPSMS federation

New olive crop management practices for climate change mitigation via the European program LIFE oLIVE-CLIMA

New olive crop management practices for climate change mitigation via the European program LIFE oLIVE-CLIMA

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Horizon 2020: The 2016-2017 programme budget for actions in the agricultural sector is 774.5 million euros

Horizon 2020 budget for actions in the agricultural sector

The European Commission announced the actions and budgets of the EU research and innovation programme «Horizon 2020» in the area of food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy for the years 2016 and 2017. This programme includes a total of 38 actions aimed at four main sections, which are: the sustainable food security, the fostering innovation and business opportunities in agricultural production, the increase of organic food production and biomass and the development of fisheries. The budget of these actions for 2016 is estimated to be at 364.5 million euros and for 2017 at 410 million euros. In the near future the Commission will announce the final report, with the proclamation of every action and the selection criteria. Continue reading Horizon 2020: The 2016-2017 programme budget for actions in the agricultural sector is 774.5 million euros

Lindner, the Austrian innovative niche tractor brand

About Lindner

Lindner produces tractors and transporters of the brands Geotrac, Lintrac and Unitrac at its Kundl location (Austria). The family company with an export rate of 50 percent employs a workforce of 220. With a market share of 14.1 percent, Lindner reaches second place on the Austrian market for standard tractors in the first seven months of 2015.
Agrotypos visited the Lindner Innovation Center in Austria and met David Lindner. Continue reading Lindner, the Austrian innovative niche tractor brand

Land and Soil Management Award 2015/16 for good agriculture and environmental conditions

ELO-Land-and-Soil-Management-Award

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The World Food Life Cycle Assessments Database project for robust environmental assessments and communications

World-Food-Life-Cycle-Assessments-Database-project

The World Food Life Cycle Assessments Database (WFLDB), an international and multi-stakeholder project lead by Agroscope and Quantis, has delivered 900 accurate and transparent food datasets for improved Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) and environmental communications. LCA is a scientific method used to quantify environmental impacts throughout all activities occurring over the life cycle of a product or service, from extracting natural resources to managing generated waste. An LCA dataset consists of all inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, machinery, water, energy carriers, transport) used for production of a commodity and the resulting emission to air, water and soil from the production and use of the inputs. The goal of the WFLDB project is to develop and maintain the first comprehensive and up-to-date inventory of food datasets.

Continue reading The World Food Life Cycle Assessments Database project for robust environmental assessments and communications

China proceeds to the industrialization of agricultural sector

China proceeds to the industrialization of agricultural sector

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The impact of financial crisis on the environment

The impact of financial crisis on the environment

Photo by Ryan Li / CC BY 4.0

It may be the wrong time for someone to talk about the protection of the environment when the entire Greek people are tested by the financial crisis. But things are not exactly like that. The environment has a direct and indirect economic value that should be safeguarded. Indirect economic value has to do with the dignity and physical / mental health of residents as well as with the preservation of historical memory of each place. Direct economic value deals with activities that generate economic benefits, when at the same time they protect the environment (by recycling, use of Renewable Energy Sources – RES etc). According to AgroTypos reportage, the policy areas that are most negatively affected by the financial crisis are related to environmental impact assessment and environmental licensing of construction and development projects, as well as to the protection of forest and coastal ecosystems. This happens not only in Greece but European-wide and in many cases outside the EU. Continue reading The impact of financial crisis on the environment

What could carob, hazelnuts and alginate possibly have in common?

carobites low glycemic load desert-snack

Have you ever wonder what could carob, hazelnuts and alginate possibly have in common? The answer is a tasty idea called “Carobites”, a “Ready-To-Eat, sweet, on the go snack of high nutritional value based on carob combined with the innovative technology of edible coatings”. It is about a high nutritional product, consisting of approximately 60% carob and carob derivatives and 20% of hazelnut that is coated by a tasteless alginate derived edible coating. Continue reading What could carob, hazelnuts and alginate possibly have in common?

Only vineyard and orchard tractors hold out in the Italian market according to FederUnacoma

Data on Italian tractor sales during the first quarter of the year point to a sharp drop in registrations. The only type showing growth is the narrow track specialists for vineyards and orchards facing, however, the application of new European Union regulations on exhaust emissions which carry the risk of choking off also this sector of the market. Continue reading Only vineyard and orchard tractors hold out in the Italian market according to FederUnacoma