- François-Xavier Branthôme
- 2019 Season
In its latest monthly update bulletin providing the forecasts and results for agriculture and the fishing industry (August and September 2019), the Portuguese National Statistics Institute (INE) estimates that the country's processing tomato harvest could enjoy an increase in yields of 10% compared to the results of 2018.
In August, the INE already announced favorable prospects and very satisfactory color levels of the fruit grown for processing. The update states that planting operations of tomatoes intended for processing were finished by early June and that the first harvest operations started during week 31 (from 29 July to 4 August). In August, plant cover development was regular and despite a few localized mildew issues and infestations of mites that required some treatments, no notable damage was caused by plant-health problems. The volumes of tomatoes already shipped to factories tend to indicate that agricultural yields could be 10% higher than those recorded during the 2018 season, approaching the record levels of those of 2015, which were historically the highest since statistical records were started.
In September, the harvest continued normally, confirming the historic productivity levels mentioned in August. The fears of seeing the crop (which is entirely machine harvested), the transport of tomatoes towards processing plants, and the running of factories (all of which are completely dependent on supplies of fuel and gas) potentially affected by supply difficulties (resulting from strike action on the part of transport operators for dangerous materials) were never realized, and transport operators had no problems complying with programmed deliveries to factories.
At the end of August, about half of the planted acreage had been harvested. The sanitary condition of the fruit is globally satisfactory, as are lycopene and soluble solids contents. According to estimates, that local professional sources seem to confirm, average yields should exceed 93 metric tonnes per hectare, one of the highest levels since the start of the systematic recording of this information. The question is whether these estimates will be confirmed by the official final season results that will be published in a few weeks by AMITOM and WPTC.
Some complementary data
INE report Sept 2019:
Source: agriculturaemar.com, vidarural.pt