Tomatoes and its derivatives historically has a strategic role in the Italian fruit and vegetable sector: the high propensity to exports reduces the structural debts of national agricultural balance while the complexity of the supply chain makes this sector of great relevance not only for agriculture but also for the processing industry with over 180 plants and just under 4,000 people in Italy for the year 2008. Currently, the processed tomatoes chain is characterized by a deep restructuring process affected by the reform of the cmo, and its introduction of the Single Farm Payment and the increasingly fierce competition in price determined by the appearance and progressive statement some international competitors. This paper describes and critically analyze the major changes underway in the sector. In the first part, after a brief description of the main actors at international level, we analyze the performance of the sector at a national level and we propose new scenarios determined by the recent introduction of the cmo reform. In the second part of the work trade flows for the main categories are analyzed in detail. The most important statistical sources, represented by fao and eurostat databases, allow us to assess the performance of our country over more than a decade. In addition to market trends, the trade balances and market shares are describe as well. Concerning the evolution of the sector, it is evident that compared to a stable domestic demand for tomato derivatives, the supply seems strongly affected by climatic conditions and by a certain difficulty in planning the production levels of raw material, these imbalances turn in the repeated crises that characterized the decade just ended, and have accelerated the process of refurbishment and especially the processing industry. This process will continue in coming years and will likely be driven by the effects of fruit and vegetable cmo reform. The analysis of foreign trade flows showed significant increases in domestic demand for fresh tomatoes to the eu and all types of products. The growth in domestic consumption has been particularly important for more technological advanced products such as sauces that in the last eight years have doubled the market. For this product category the most important competitor is the Netherlands that in the future may rely on an advantageous position with further comparative advantages. It is also evident that even in relation to fresh tomatoes Holland has the largest market share and so for Italy it is very important to elaborate a specific policy of diversification both in production and trade to avoid the risk of being marginalized on a market that is destined to undergo new changes in the light of the new regulatory framework. The scenario that emerges from the analysis of market shares describes a situation little or nothing comforting for our Country. This scenario is characterized by significant losses in percentage for all Countries and all considered categories. This is further aggravated by the fact that this performance is associated with a simultaneous consumption growth and an increasing international demand. It is also widely believed that in the near future there will be a drop in the price of processing tomatoes as a result of the elimination of subsidies for processing. This price reduction is expected in Italy more consistent than in other competing countries. This can result in reduced product demand by the industries that will eventually affect the area under tomato.
Keywords: Tomato sector, international trade
Jel Code: Q17