Canary Islands tomato growers are fighting to defend their slice of the EU market - but in their eagerness to promote they have launched two unrelated and costly campaigns.

They are key suppliers to the UK during the winter season, and will ship 92,000t by May - covering about 25% of the market.

But high volumes and rock bottom prices made last year a trading disaster and growers are desperate to avoid a repeat.

Nearly £240,000 will be spent on promotion by May, but there is no connection between the two campaigns, whose financing comes from different sources. The most significant one is being run by Foods from Spain, which is the umbrella group for Spanish produce imports. Worth £158,000, it will see packs of Canaries tomatoes badged up in store with details of a competition to win 1,000 Spanish-themed prizes, from a car to beach towels.

The other campaign was launched by agricultural counsellor Pedro Rodriguez Zaragoza this week in Harrods. It will use a more diffuse advertising message to link the Canaries' landscape with tomato production, and will be flashed up on electronic billboards at 17 major railway stations.

It is all designed to stave off the problems experienced last year and try to halt the incursion of Moroccan and Polish tomatoes into the UK. "There are tomatoes coming into Europe from everywhere," said Zaragoza. "The northern European season is extending into the winter and Poland is adding a new competitive dimension."

To shore up the industry, growers are also working on plans to apply for Protected Designation of Origin status to earn a premium.

Another tactic is to switch to higher margin varieties, according to Tony Zerpa, MD of importer Victoria Trading, which accounts for a third of production on Gran Canaria.

"The industry is gaining ground with the multiples as it grows more vine and plum varieties."