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CoViD-19: mobilization of the tomato industry

17/03/2020 - Press release , François-Xavier Branthôme - CoViD-19 - Lire en français
Information received from companies around the world
To date, 16 March 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic is now impacting the business of many sectors and necessitates concerted responses from across our industry.
Tomato News is opening its pages to industry operators who may wish to communicate about the constraints that affect the running of our industries and the measures taken at all levels to deal with these constraints.
Several companies have already responded positively to this invitation and briefly present here the decisions that affect their tomato processing sector, taken by competent authorities in the context of the pandemic in their country, as well as the measures implemented by themselves at agricultural, industrial and commercial levels in order to continue to ensure the safe, healthy and regular supply of goods to their customers.
For the time being, it appears from the messages received from various regions of the world that the tomato sector globally is able to comply with the instructions imposed by authorities whilst also conducting operations to prepare for the coming harvest season in order to supply customers without risk of interruption.
This article will be updated as information is sent to us spontaneously by our contacts.
Italy, March 11 and 17, 2020 
 Dear Valued Partners,
First of all we want to assure you that Solana guarantees the continuity of delivery and of its activities. The new decree of the Italian Prime Minister (issued on the 09/03/2020) provides further measures to restraint and contrast the spread of Covid-19 virus on the whole national territory, but neither it limits the production activities nor it keeps the goods from being delivered or picked up.
The decree actually aims at limiting the unnecessary moving of people and, as specified in an explanatory note, "it does not forbid travelling for proven business reasons, allowing the free circulation of goods".
For this reason, we do not expect the interruption of our production, shipping and delivery of goods.
We assure that we have taken all the necessary measures to cope with this emergency and we guarantee the health of our staff and of all the drivers arriving at our factory, as well as the continuity of our production, shipping and delivering goods.
We have provided gloves, protection masks and hand sanitizers to all drivers, and for those who do not want to get off the truck, the loading the goods will be possible anyways, all the documents will be electronically transmitted.
We thank you for your cooperation and understanding and we are available for any explanation.
We will continue to monitor the developing of this crisis and we will keep you informed of the future unfolding of events.
Best regards”,
Antonio Casana, C.E.O.
Solana S.p.A.
As of 17 March, Italian professional sources confirmed companies “internally adopted specific measures in order to assure the safety of all workers.
In the last five days, we faced some difficulties in keeping the scheduled deliveries since many forwarders and transport companies have difficulties because many drivers refuse to travel and to come in Italy. We are trying to make up for it but is not easy.
Regarding the cultivation, it can be said that till now everything is proceeding smoothly; seeds are in the greenhouses and seedling are coming in next two weeks for the early crop.
We express the hope that the growth of the infected people will end soon and won’t affect so heavy other countries as it is in Italy now, but it’s a very difficult moment”.
USA, March 13, 2020
 “Dear Valued Customer:
As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) affects more regions around the world, Kagome wants to ensure our customers that we are monitoring the developing situation very closely. We are following guidance outlined by the CDC and local health authorities and have established protocols and guidelines to minimize the impact whenever possible. Our top priority, relative to the outbreak, is to protect our people, operations and customers from any adverse impact.
We are actively evaluating the overall supply chain of both our raw materials and transportation services to mitigate any potential supply disruption. Currently, we are not aware of any threat that will directly affect our ability to continue to operate and to ship or receive. If the status changes in a way that will impact our customers, we will notify you as soon as realistically possible.
In turn, we ask that you notify us as soon as you anticipate or know that your business will be impacted in a matter that will affect our partnership together.
On behalf of the Kagome Team, thank you for your patience during this challenging time. We hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy.
Luis de Oliveira, President/CEO
Kagome, Inc.
Chile, March 16, 2020
 “Dear Customer
This is to inform you about Covid-19 impacts and procedures implemented by Sugal Group.
- Our production season in Chile continue without any inconvenient, all the WHO (World Health organization) recommendations had been implemented in order to reduce the risk of this disease impact in our team (Keep the distance -Washing hands - Cover the cough, avoid touch eyes/nose/mouth - Alcohol gel dispenser in all the areas - Remote working alternatives and very restrict Travel Mgt Process);
- About our Supply Chain for this season, we have all the productions materials and implements already available in our factories, that's means no risk of inventory shortage until the end of our production season;
- At same time, we are managing same care within our key partnership fronts with careful mitigations.
- Our only special recommendation, due to the situation, is to anticipate dispatch plans as much as possible, avoiding possible delays due to less container's availability to dispatch the products".
Juan Manuel Mira,
Sugal CCO
Australia, March 16, 2020
According to APTRC, "at the national, community and personal levels, the response to COVID 19 is quite fluid, so further developments are expected as the pandemic affects more people – Australia’s current death toll from the virus is five.
[…] The Federal government is implementing mitigation strategies based on the best medical advice. […] Significant government funds are also being pushed into the economy to mitigate the widespread loss of business and personal income as a range of industries and jobs become affected by reducing demand. Some of those measures will also reach tomato producing and processing businesses – the objective being for money to be spent to increase economic activity.
Kagome Australia and SPC are “currently focusing on protecting their factory sites and employees from the risk of transmission during the next six critical weeks while [they] process their tomato crop”.
Companies issued recommendations which indicate measures being taken at a corporate level regarding meetings, visits, travels restrictions as well as social distancing practices and flexible workplace arrangements.
[…] These measures and comments are typical of Australian industries and companies proactively meeting an evolving challenge. 
Food logistics is currently being partially affected by public panic-buying of a small number of specific items; authorities and farmer groups are assuring people that there is no need for this reaction given 85% of Australia’s food is locally produced, without allowing for export volumes. 
At this stage, processing tomato products are not among those being over-bought. The current season’s harvest is well underway during warm, clear days, and, as per the Kagome advice, we have sufficient stocks to meet some months’ demand. Logistic chains are still working, with little adverse impact". (See complete document in annex).
Peter Gray, APTRC
Hungary, March 15, 2020
In Hungary, professional sources explain they had issue with supply of machines and spare parts, nothing else (seeds arrived in time).
A few ordered transplanting machine didn't arrive from Italy. Spare parts for harvesters still ongoing, the optimal time for repair and maintenance could be this period, but if we don't receive the spare parts in time, with extra efforts we can do this works later - until beginning of the harvesting period.
As Hungary's contribution to the world's production is very low, there will be no perceivable effect on the market”.
Palotás Gábor, Chief R&D and Quality Officer
Univer Product Zrt. 
China, March 12, 2020
A Letter to Our Overseas Counterparts
Dear friends,
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, China has taken comprehensive, strict and thorough prevention and control measures and worked hand in hand with other countries to combat the disease in a responsible way. The Chinese government has been putting people's lives and health as the top priority, adopting effective measures to curb the spread of the virus, strengthening the emergency supply of medical materials and daily necessities, and safeguarding social stability. With massive efforts by the government and the brave Chinese people, China has achieved impressive progress and is anticipating a final victory against COVID-19.
Apart from overcoming its own difficulties, China is also extending helping hands to countries in urgent need. China shared the whole genome sequence of the virus with the WHO and the global community at an early stage of the epidemic and has decided to donate 20 million U.S.D. to the WHO in fighting COVID-19... These measures and actions have been widely recognized by the international community.
During this critical period, as a responsible national industrial organization, CFNA is also fulfilling our social responsibilities in every possible way, including doing researches and passing on companies' voices to the government; jointly building an on-line domestic and international trade platform with COFCO for our member companies to tide over the difficult time, etc.
Under strict quality assurance and control, our member companies have also started orderly resumption of work and production. As reported by different research institutions and authorities, COVID-19 could not be transmitted through exported or imported goods. "Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States.
Virus knows no boundaries, but the worst of times reveals the best in people. We are very grateful for your support and concern. Although many of our activities have been postponed, we are continue working on them and will keep you updated on the adjusted time and venue. Meanwhile, please take good care of yourself and let us know if there's anything we could do to help. As Chinese sayings go, oceans apart, close at heart; together we stand, my armors thine. We have every confidence that with our joint efforts, a final victory will arrive soon and we will be standing with you in this global fight, making efforts for all humanity.
We are looking forward to our cooperation and your participation again!
Sincerely Yours”,
China Chamber of Commerce of Import & Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce & Animal By-Products (CFNA)
Italy, March 13, 2020
Dear AII,
Regarding the current situation about the spreading of the virus COVID-19 in our country, we deem it appropriate to inform you that lmeta is constantly working in order to guarantee the health of its employees and collaborators and their families and to guarantee the continuity of the business respecting the commitments made towards our customers.
We assure all our partners that our Parma production site is fully operational and, in full compliance with the rules issued by the Italian Government, Imeta has put in place measures to ensure the highest level of hygiene, limit the interaction between staff, regulate access, activate smart working and replace internal and external meetings with the use of networking tools.
We take this opportunity to thank you for your support and your trust in our efforts to minimize the impact of the current situation.
Best Regards”,
IMETA, Guerrino Greci
The coronavirus pandemic is now impacting everyone globally and it is currently difficult to estimate the magnitude and length of the disruptions, and their potential longer term effects on the tomato processing sector globally.
We have started publishing articles on this topic and will continue to give you updates as new information becomes available.
Even more than usual, we welcome any information you can provide us to enrich our analysis of the situation: 
  Are travel and trade restrictions affecting the activity of the sector? 
  Are the constraints likely to have an effect on the volumes processed in 2020? 
  Is there a change in demand from industrial buyers? Any effect on prices? 
  How are the shopping restrictions affecting the demand for finished tomato products? 
  What measures are being put in place in different countries to secure the food chain?  
You can send your contributions to or by contacting our editor François-Xavier Branthôme directly by email or by phone. 
With our best wishes of continued good health to all our readers and their families. 

The Tomato News team
Complementary documents :
Solana 11 marzo 2020
Kagome USA 20200313
Letter Covid 19 Sugal Chile 2
Australia PeterGray APTRC
China Letter to Overseas Counterparts
IMETA letter 20200313
Italy annx COVI 19 Protocollo condiviso di regolamentazione2020315124923723
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