The European Commission has announced its tomato processing quotas for this year ­ an increasingly anachronistic practice. Total quota will be 6.8 million tonnes, split into paste (4.6mt), whole peeled plum (1.3mt) and other products (929,000t). Abuse of the quota system in previous seasons suggests there should be a more effective way of achieving the desired aim of channeling money to growers than paying it through an interested party. More to the point, packers last year packed 30% over quota. While there is nothing to stop packing outside quota, it effectively means the EU is putting money into a sector that either does not need it or is abusing it so roundly that the tonnages of finished product have ballooned. The former is nearer the truth, although cases of the latter have been cited. This year producers expect to go 10% over quota, but, as ever in the Mediterranean, watering is expected to be difficult. This is no problem for deep-rooted olive trees, thirsty tomato plants could suffer. {{PROVISIONS }}