Tomato is a Leading Vegetable Specie in Brazil

Tomato is a key specie on vegetable market in Brazil. Total planted area is around 65,000 ha. 25-28% is processing tomato and the balance is fresh market. This market is very important considering the economic and social aspects since it generates a lot of labor use for people on rural areas. Last survey done by ABCSEM about 2 years ago indicated that the value of tomato production reaches about R$10 billions (approximately at that time USD 4 billions). Tomato crop for fresh market and processing in Brazil represent also a very important market for seeds since in both segments the use of hybrids is very high. The top type in fresh market is the long shelf life, round fruits. The market changed for these types years ago with the introduction of ESL Israel types at that type is about 70-75 % of the market is on this segment. The balance is completed by other types like; saladete and Santa Cruz the old and original Brazilian fresh market tomato type.  All these types are usually indeterminate plant type. There is a small market in Fresh Market using determinate type, but not very significant. Fresh market tomato is grown in several states in Brazil all year round, while processing tomato is more concentrated in Goias State, center area of Brazil.

According some news from ABCSEM, the use of OP tomato seeds in Brazil is almost near zero, while indeterminate hybrid type is about 79% and determinate hybrid is about 15%.

Below there are some fruit shapes for different types cultivated in Brazil

Market for “specialties” in tomato is growing in Brazil, but it is still a limited market (less than 5%). Grapes and similar types with different colors (below) are trying to capture consumer preference.

Indeterminate tomato in Brazil is grown on staked system. Growers use “bamboo” stake or “polythene strips” (2o photo).  Of course, such system has a high demand of labors, and labor cost is the one that had the main increase during the last years. In addition, it is becoming more difficult to find people to work in the field.

Diseases and pests in tropical conditions are really a key pressure fact, so to have success in the market, the hybrids must demonstrate several genetic diseases resistance. TYLC is by far one of the key need, but also F3 is becoming a problem in some regions. See below a field drastically affected by disease.


Below there is an example of costs per different components. This study prepared by CEPEA, is valid for a growing region in Sao Paulo State from the crop cultivated in 2014.

As you can see, labor cost is by far the topic with highest percentage. On the study, CEPEA reports the cost for 2014 crop increased in local currency 16,4 % compared to the previous crop. The reported labor cost increased (in local currency) by 77% from one crop to the other.  The key reason for it was the minimum wage increase, but also labor’s availability on the region is decreasing due to competition of other industries.  Also, the additional legal requirements for working conditions introduced by the Government had produced impact costs. Due to short rains during the year, irrigation costs have also increased. Some growers are moving more and more to drip irrigation. The value of R$17.52 on the bottom of the figure indicates the cost per box (about 22 kg.) which, at that time, translated to dollars, represents around USD6-7 per box.