Dutch tomatoes leave Swedish farms in the red

Dutch tomatoes leave Swedish farms in the red
Stiff competition from cheap imported tomatoes could bury a quarter of Swedish tomato farmers in bankruptcy in what observers are calling one of the worst years ever for the country's domestic tomato production.

Some farmers have scrapped tomatoes in favour of raising cucumbers, while others have filed for bankruptcy. The primary cause: cheap tomatoes imported from the Netherlands.

“Yeah, it’s worse this year and all of the tomato growers who are here now aren’t going to start up again in the spring,” Thomas Lilja of the Federation of Swedish Farmers (Lantbrukarnas Riksförbund, LRF) told the TT news agency.

“We expect 25 percent of the country’s tomato cultivation to disappear.”

According to the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket), Swedish-grown tomatoes only make up 20 percent of the domestic market, with imports accounting for the lion’s share of tomatoes sold in Sweden.

In the past year, surplus production from the Netherlands have put so much downward pressure on prices that Swedish producers have been forced to export.

The situation has left tomato farmer Caroline Andersson from Brännan Tomater near Höganäs in western Sweden frustrated.

“We now get about 9.50 kronor ($1.50) per kilo on average from wholesalers for our tomatoes, which means we’re making a loss. We can’t survive at these prices,” she told TT.

TT/The Local/dl

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