- François-Xavier Branthôme
- 2021 Season
In the mid-term, this site is expected to double planted surfaces
The San Juan government recently announced grants of USD 7 million (approximately ARS 557 million) from the Inter-American Development Bank for the construction of a tomato processing plant. This government project, which has been under consideration for several years, aims to process the production of some 800 hectares of tomatoes, one of the most successful crops economically in the province of San Juan. Local authorities believe that this set-up will encourage upstream agricultural operators to increase the surfaces dedicated to this crop and, in the medium term, will result in a doubling of annual planted acreage. According to the local press, 1 900 hectares were planted last season, and this figure could exceed 2 300 hectares next season.
Given the current progression of the project, the Ministry of Production believes that the recent payment of funds should allow the launch of the call for tenders for the construction of the structure before the end of 2020, as has been confirmed by Minister Andrés Díaz Cano. He also specified that his services are studying possible locations for building the plant, as the "9 de Julio" Industrial Park initially planned to accommodate the site has been abandoned due to problems linked to the soil.
The equipment planned for the plant includes two production lines, for products packed in Tetra Brik and Doypack packaging. The processing capacity should be around 1 000 tonnes per day, supplied by the quantities harvested from the 800 hectares (approximately 60 000 mT) initially planned for the project. Marisa Fernández, Director of the plant, explained that the company has chosen to use advanced technologies and that it will initially produce tomato pastes and chopped tomato products. The processing site is expected to create 85 permanent jobs and will require the temporary recruitment of around 50 seasonal workers. Like recent similar projects, the provincial government will not manage the establishment, but will entrust it to private partners on a "turnkey" basis.
A strategic crop
San Juan is a premium location for tomato production, with agricultural yields of processing tomatoes that are the highest in Argentina. However, only 60% to 70% of the production is processed in the province, mainly at the Arcor factory (previously La Campagnola), as well as at the Almar plant and a few smaller ones. The rest of the quantities harvested in the province of San Juan are processed in Mendoza. In fact, the installation of a new factory will be a decisive step forward for the province, not only because of the creation of direct and indirect jobs, but also because of the scale of the industrial hub that will be benefiting the Argentinian sector in this way.
A comprehensive article on the Argentinian processed tomato industry was published in the 2020 Processed Tomato Yearbook (page 26)