Economic Importance

Tomato is a major vegetable crop, has gained in popularity over the last century, and is now grown in almost every country of the world (Robertson and

Labate 2007). Worldwide production of fresh market and processing tomatoes has steadily increased during the last decade and reached an annual production of 124.4 million tons in 2004, with an average yield of 27.5 ton/hectare (Table 2; FAOSTAT 2004). The tomato growing area has increased by 38% and production by 42% worldwide in the past 10 years. Most of the increase came from China, where the growing area nearly tripled from 0.47 million ha in 1995 to 1.26 million ha in 2004, and production more than doubled from 13.2 million ton to 30.1 million ton. More than half of the total tomato production was from the six top producing countries: China, USA, Turkey, India, Egypt, and Italy (USDA-FAS 2005). Mexico ranks as number one in tomato exports, followed by Turkey, USA, European Union, Canada, and China, while USA ranks first in tomato imports, followed by Russia, European Union, and Canada.

The USA is one of the world's leading producers of tomatoes, secondonlytoChina. Annualper capita use of fresh-market tomatoes increased 15% between the early 1990s and the early 2000s to nearly 8 kg per person, while use in processed products declined 9% to 31 kg (fresh-weight basis) (USDA-ERS 2006). Tomato harvested area for fresh market tomatoes in the USA has declined from an average of ~62,000 ha in the 1960s to an average of ~54,000 ha in the 1970s, and remained at an average of ~52,000 in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. However, the average production and value have increased steadily during the past five decades (Table 3). Similarly, although the harvested area for processing tomatoes has not changed greatly in the last half century, the average production and value have gradually increased, with the crop value remaining relatively stable in the 1990s and 2000s. Mexico and Canada are important suppliers of fresh market tomatoes to the USA, and Canada is the leading USA export market for fresh and processed tomatoes. Overall, the USA has maintained a trade deficit in fresh market production, but a surplus in processed tomato (USDA-FAS 2005).

Florida and California are the two leading states for fresh tomato production. The average production and crop value from the two states in the 2000s account for ~70% of that for the entire USA (Table 3). California is the top producer of processing tomatoes and has produced nearly 95% of the total for the USA. The second leading producer of processing tomato, Indiana, accounts for only 3% of the production value.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment