In golf tournaments, Saturday is called "moving day" when the players want to get into a good position for the final day. Well, not only for Turkey, but especially so given the lateness of the crop, September is "moving month" for the tomato crop this year - no mistakes can be made.
This week we announced to AMITOM that the crop was about 30% completed, although it could be a little higher (after all 1 days production is 3% of the total crop) but remember that some areas (South East Turkey, Torbali near Izmir) are finished or almost so, and the larger crops in the Marmara area and Balikesir are only really starting with about 10% harvested. As Merko, with our production only in the Marmara (late) area as of today we are only 15% through our pack, but on the other hand the quality is good and the balance of the crop is in the fields and looking good too.
Although some fields have been affected by everything from red spider to mildew, defoliating and prematurely ripening the fruit, well maintained fields show no signs of losses or disease. The harvest - having been stopped for 1 day due to the "double holiday" in Turkey on the 30th August - is back and will finally reach the peak in a day or two. The short term weather forecast is good, and if this can be maintained throughout September then the forecast tonnage should be met.
While there have been limited losses, an unusual tonnage was purchased before the season really started from fresh market excess fruit by some processors who have the support of local market prices, and this will help the industry make the forecast.
For those of you who want an easy way to follow the weather in production areas throughout the world, please access our website (http://www.tomatopaste.com/) and click on the "Weather" link. At the moment we are only showing the Northern hemisphere areas but in time for the Southern Hemisphere will add them soon. If you have any suggestions, perhaps for more accurate geographical locations, then please let us know.
Finally, after a 3 week delay we are under way with good fruit, good quality and average yields and the only possible cloud on the horizon would be a break in the weather.
Regards - Duncan Blake