The changing climate, with increasingly hot and less rainy summers, is favoring the expansion in Veneto of the industrial tomato, which is becoming an increasingly widespread crop in the provinces of Verona and Rovigo. 2021 was a good year, with domestic consumption increasing also due to the pandemic and quite satisfactory prices, set for the North at 88 euros per ton.
«2021 was interesting for industrial tomatoes – he explains Camillo Brena, president of the new industrial and horticultural tomato product section of Confagricoltura Veneto, owner of a company in Taglio di Po. «We had some problems with harvesting, because everything matured together, and some hailstorms. But the quality was superior, so much so that there was a lot of demand from the industry. The cultivation is very interesting, so much so that it is expanding in the Veronese area, in the Rodigino area and also begins in the Venetian area. With the increasingly hot climate, ripening is optimal and therefore there is room for those looking for an alternative production that gives profitability, so much so that many companies in sectors, such as tobacco, are starting another on tomatoes. For those who want to start the crop, however, there are important costs to be incurred for the machinery, which are essential to reduce the costs of transplanting and harvesting ».
Camillo Brena lives in Verona, but his family has always cultivated the fields in Polesine. «Before we used to make melon and watermelons – he says. «So years ago we moved to industrial tomatoes because in the meantime both harvesting and other processes such as transplants had been mechanized. The yield is very good. One hectare produces about 800 quintals of tomatoes; we have 80 and therefore we produce an average of 65,000 quintals per season. Like other Venetian producers, we are members of a cooperative in Emilia Romagna, which is the first region in Italy for the production of industrial tomatoes. We are part of the Tomato Consortium, a large cooperative from Casalmaggiore. Years ago in Polesine there were many more companies in this sector, for example in Ficarolo. In my opinion we can return to growth, because, despite the competition from other countries, you see imports from China, consumption is so high that in some moments there was a lack of product. By focusing on quality we can gain market share ».
The province of Verona, according to data from Veneto Agriculture of 2020, is the first in Veneto for the production of industrial tomatoes, with 970 hectares on 1,710 regional hectares (+ 27% compared to 2019), followed by Rovigo with about 500 hectares ( + 23%). Regional production was around 120,000 tons (+ 32.6%). The development of bacteriosis was limited last year, as were pest attacks.