Argentina: the processing tomato season is starting
- François-Xavier Branthôme
- 2023 Season
Planting began during the first half of September in San Juan
The 2022/23 processing tomato season began with transplanting operations in early September. The weather was good and planted surface areas are reportedly up on last year. In a few places, planting began between August 22 (week 34) and September 4 (week 35), but operations really started up, as in previous years, during week 36, between September 5 and 11.
According to information gathered by the local press from professional sources (plant-nursery operators, farmers, technicians and agronomists, manufacturers, service providers, and input suppliers), the coming season should see some new growth in the industry. According to estimates from industry sources, the surface areas dedicated to the cultivation of processing tomatoes should cover about 3,000 hectares this year, while they covered 2,500 to 2,600 hectares last season.
Unanticipated snowfall in the mountainous areas has considerably improved the context of this crop in the San Juan region, providing additional quantities of water to the minimum volumes already available for irrigation according to the experts' estimations. At the same time, growers have been able to take advantage of financial advances, and benefit from supplies and inputs on offer from the various processing companies in the Cuyo region to start their crops.
According to local growers who say they "cannot take the risk", the availability of wells equipped with efficient pumping systems to feed drip-irrigation systems is essential for scheduled crops: currently, 95% of the processing tomato acreage planted in the San Juan region is equipped with these irrigation systems.
Increase in surface areas in Mendoza
The increases that are being considered this year follow on from last season's crop, when the areas dedicated to the cultivation of processing tomatoes in the region of Mendoza increased by 29.5%. This last figure has been taken from a report published by the Argentine Institute of Rural Development (IDR) according to which processing tomatoes mobilized 3757 hectares in the province. The provinces of Mendoza and San Juan concentrate more than 80% of the national production.
"The information collected shows a significant increase in the total area cultivated with [processing tomatoes] compared to the data recorded during the previous season. Our province and the neighboring province of San Juan produce 80% of the tomatoes used by the Argentine industry. The remaining planted surfaces are distributed between Salta and Jujuy (NOA region), Corrientes and Formosa (NEA), Rio Negro and Buenos Aires," says the IDR report.
According to the report, "the average annual Argentine tomato crop in recent years has been around 1.10 million tonnes harvested on an area of about 17,000 hectares. Approximately 60-70% is destined for "fresh" tomato consumption and the remaining 30%-40% is delivered to processors.
Domestic production is well below domestic demand. Chile and Italy are generally the main suppliers who meet Argentine demand, which clearly shows opportunities for expansion within the country to achieve self-sufficiency. In Argentina, approximately 650,000 tonnes of tomatoes are processed annually by the industry and in a normal year, the country's crop reaches 450,000 tonnes." (Editor's note: This last figure represents the average of the quantities processed during the period 2016-2020; in 2021 and 2022, the Argentine processing industry respectively processed 596,000 and 626,000 tonnes of fresh tomatoes).
Some complementary data
A full report is available at:
A summary report is available at:
Sources: diariodecuyo.com.ar, mendoza.gov.ar, idr.org.ar,