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Mexico - Smaller area and bad weather tempers tomato harvest

The adverse weather conditions during the harvest in Sinaloa, the main Mexican state where tomatoes are grown, plus the supply and demand challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, have resulted in slightly lower expected production and trade in Mexican tomatoes. However, spring / summer supply from Central Mexico is expected to meet all demand to the United States for the remainder of the marketing season.

Fall and winter tomato growers have been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, as the hotel and restaurant industry in both the United States and Mexico shut down operations for several months in the spring and summer, which directly corresponds to the harvest season.

Tomatoes are grown all year round in Mexico, with an autumn / winter cycle and a spring / summer cycle that spans 18 months and is measured from October to March. The sales season for tomatoes runs from October to September. The Roma tomato is the main variety grown in Mexico, followed by cherry and regular round tomatoes.

Protected cultivation is increasing throughout Mexico, especially among farms that depend on the export market. The protected horticulture includes cultivation in greenhouses, shade or net greenhouses and tunnels and makes it possible to cultivate all year round through strict climatic controls. Tomato production for 2020 is forecast at 3.33 million tonnes, 3% lower than the previous year due to the changeable weather in Sinaloa (autumn / winter cycle), and reductions in the area planted. Sinaloa was plagued by cold weather and heavy rains throughout the winter, tightening supply and putting pressure on prices in the spring.

The planted area for 2020 is estimated at 45,102 ha. That is 5% lower than in 2019. This reduction can be attributed to the drought damage to some fields in the central states and to changes from open field to more efficient protected cultivation systems that lead to better yields.

The planted area for 2021 is estimated to be 3% higher than in 2020 and depending on better weather conditions throughout the growing season, is estimated at 46,510 ha.

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