A report sent to IEG Vu stating that Portugal had transplanted 45% of the contracted area was proved to be inaccurate as more recent information sent to us have pictured a completely different scenario. “The reality is that in most of the tomato areas has been raining with practically non stop since the last week of March which is really unusual,” a source said. Some sources believe that about 23% of the area has been transplanted, but those figures are highly debatable as other growers’ transplanted area is much smaller and does not exceed 13.5%.
“I could see only a few growers transplanting and the fields that normally are busy at this time of the year are really quiet,” a processor told IEG Vu explaining that the situation is not confined to one area. “Some fields are transplanted, some fields prepared but not transplanted and other fields are not even prepared to receive the new plants.” In some cases, Portuguese growers have started pressing processors to ask for a raw material price increase as contracts were closed at the same level as 2019 and current weather conditions coupled with Covid-19 might increase production costs.
In Extremadura, transplanting is re-starting, and the region could arrive at the end of April with 25-30% planted when normally should be 45-55%. As for Portugal, transplanting was highly jeopardised by the rain with some growers having covered just 5% of the contracted area and others 10% but no more than 18%. According to the latest figures released by the World Processing Tomato Council (WPTC) Spain and Portugal are expected to process 3.1 mln tonnes and 1.4 mln tonnes of tomato, respectively, this season.