Tomato plantings for the 2000 season are
estimated at 5 515 ha. The Mooketsi area in the Northern Province was the
major producing area, with 2 700 ha or 49% of the area planted. Other
important regions in terms of hectares under tomato cultivation are the Far
North of the Northern Province and the East London area of the Eastern Cape.
Growing of tomatoes in tunnels is still on the increase as an important
method in South Africa and at present, about 100 ha of tomatoes are grown
Tomato production in South Africa remained
constant over the past three years. The major production areas are Mooketsi,
which contributes more than 47% of the total volume of tomatoes produced in
South Africa, and Letaba in the Northern Province, Malelane in Mpumalanga, and
the Eastern Cape. The total production was approximately 337 890 tons
during the 2000 season. The Mooketsi and Far North areas in the Northern
Province presented the largest production—162 000 and 38 500 tons,
respectively— followed by the Border area in the Eastern Cape, with 36 000
The quantity of tomatoes sold on the
sixteen fresh produce markets increased by 2,4%, from 258 534 tons in
1998/99 to 264 816 tons in 1999/2000. Johannesburg market sold 30% of the
latter figure, followed by Pretoria market with 16% and Cape Town market with
The average price of tomatoes declined by
4,3%, from R1 329/ton in 1998/99 to R1 272/ton in 1999/2000. Owing to
the adverse effects of the floods in the northern production areas, the fresh
produce markets sold 40 000 tons less tomatoes during March, April and May
2000 in comparison with the same period in 1999. Tomatoes are subject to large
seasonal price fluctuations, which implies that tomatoes have a high price risk.
capita consumption of tomatoes in South Africa is 19 kg per annum, compared
to 35 kg in Europe. Population growth, urbanisation, income per
capita and the income elasticity of demand for tomatoes
are important factors influencing the demand for tomatoes. The average household
in South Africa consumes about five to ten tomatoes per week.
Research in the tomato
industry is undertaken in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Council
(ARC) which has found several remedies for different diseases of tomatoes.
Opportunities for increasing
fresh tomato exports are limited owing to the fact that tomatoes tend to compare
unfavourably in terms of value to mass. Sun-dried tomatoes are very popular on
foreign markets and it appears that demand is increasing in South Africa.
There is currently a large shortage of tomato paste in South Africa. It is
expected that the demand for this product will also increase in future.
planted to and production of tomatoes in the world stayed fairly constant over
the past five years, with the exception of a mild decrease in 1997. South Africa
is not a major exporter of tomatoes. China is the largest producer of tomatoes
in the world, followed by the USA, Italy and Turkey. These four countries
44% of world production. The tomato producing countries with the highest yields
per hectare are the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden.