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Belgium’s tomato growers in the red

Published on 25/08/2004

25 August 2004

BRUSSELS – Belgian tomatoes and lettuce producers are facing a financial crisis following a drastic fall in the price of the two crops, it was reported on Wednesday.

The Belgian federation of distribution companies, Fedis, has met for crisis talks to thrash out a strategy to boost the home-grown tomato and lettuce market.

Fedis is responsible for the distribution of 30 to 40 percent of Belgium’s tomatoes and around 50 percent of lettuces.

It has planned promotional offers for the next three weeks and more visibility of Belgian products on supermarket shelves.

There will be an emphasis on “extra quality” tomatoes, that make up about five to ten percent of the market.

This year has been a particularly bad one for tomato and lettuce growers due to adverse weather conditions and more attractive prices for imported Turkish tomatoes.

Overproduction at a European level – due to the enlargement of the European Union – and circulation difficulties on the American market have all been contributing factors, said Jos Vanwezer, president of the Belgian auctioneers union.

Since the start of the year, revenue has gone down 25 percent for horticulturists, with tomato growers seeing a 40 percent drop and lettuce producers 50 percent.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news