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Lusa - Business News - Portugal: Tomato harvest could be 'record-breaking' - Processor

Benavente, Portugal, Sept. 17,2019 (Lusa)–The Sugal Group has said that the tomato harvest, which runs until the end of September, is very good and that if the good weather continues, it could have a record agricultural yield.
"In the last two years we had not very good agricultural yields, but this year, so far, is a very good season in terms of quantity and quality and, if we have good weather until the end of September, it will be a record agricultural harvest," the company's CEO, João Ortigão Costa said on Monday.
He was speaking to journalists at one of the group's tomato processing plants, Guloso, located in Benavente, in the Santarém district, where he pointed out that, despite the positive results, it will not be a record year in terms of production at the factory in Portugal.
"We expect to transform around 500,000 tonnes in Portugal. We can process 2.4 million tonnes and we expect to process around 1.7 million tonnes globally between Portugal, Spain and Chile,” he said.
“In terms of turnover, in terms of the group, it is around €280 million ", he added.
The Sugal Group, which was founded 60 years ago, transforms fresh tomatoes into concentrate and exports them all over the world to make sauces and juices based on this product and is currently the world's second-largest producer of tomato derivatives.
It has two factories in Portugal, in Azambuja (Lisbon) and Benavente, and one in Seville, Spain, but it was the expansion to Chile in 2012, where it has two factories, that made it the only group in the world that can work all year, catching two harvests of this product.
In Portugal, tomatoes are abundant between July and September, which leads the company to recruit around 750 more workers at this time of year, which motivated the economy minister, Pedro Siza Vieira, to visit the Benavente factory on Monday.
Despite the positive attitude of the group and the government, the Portuguese Association of Tomato Producers made a negative assessment of the tomato campaign in Ribatejo at the beginning of September, as it was being affected by diseases that made production more expensive, demanding exceptional support from the government and the European Union.
"What we know is that this is a sector that is subject to some issues that have nothing to do with the nature of production, but for this, there are several schemes that can support producers," said Pedro Siza Vieira.
Sugal buys tomatoes from more than 120 producers in this region, where there have also been complaints from professionals in the municipality of Almeirim that tomato transporters are being targeted by police fines, which, according to the mayor, Pedro Miguel Ribeiro, is calling into question the operation of some factories for lack of raw material.
The economy minister said he was unaware of this situation but said that at the Sugal factory they are receiving daily what they must receive.
Probably associated with the drawbacks that can arise from producers delivering tomatoes to factories, Sugal said today that he has already invested €1.2 million in its fleet in Portugal, which currently represents 40% of tomato transport, to reach 100%.
Portugal is the only country where the company does not fully collect the product because it was common for producers to have their vehicles and deliver the tomatoes to factories.

Agency : LUSA

Date : 2019-09-18 08:24:00


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