Italian tomato production will be delayed until the beginning of next week, two weeks later than expected due to ripening problems.
Even with the delay, some fields will be 50% unripe, giving rise to serious problems for factories. Managing the harvesting will also be an issue for local agronomists who predict the three so-called ‘crops’ will become one, with no breaks allowing for maintenance.
“Factories could be running flat out for the next four weeks, or even longer,” a source in Naples said. “Assuming production starts on August 9 and runs to mid-September, we will only have 39 days against the normal 46.”
UK importers are beginning serious negotiations, but still canners are reluctant to make firm commitments with raw material supply so uncertain. Freight costs have been increased
by £100 per container, equal to 6p per case. EU restrictions on truck movements between 4pm on a Friday until 7am on Mondays will only add to the logistical problems.