The world trade of processed tomatoes, such as puree, paste, sauce and tinned tomatoes, has intensified in recent years as world exports of tomato products continue to increase. Last year the Chinese producer, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corporation's (XPCC) revenue from the export of tomato paste reached US$133 million alone.
In the first five months of this year, exports of XPCC tomato paste reached US$43 million, a rise of 46.2 per cent year-on-year. It is expected that the revenue from the company's tomato paste will rise to US$217.6 million this year - a 63 per cent increase on last year - with a further increase to US$302.3 million next year, making XPCC by far the largest tomato paste producer in China.
China is one of the largest exporters of tomatoes in the world, producing over 1 million tons of tomatoes every year and accounting for 25 per cent of tomato paste exports by volume. Other key countries that supply tomato paste include the EU15, the United States, China, Turkey, and Chile.
But as the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that production is down in other countries, such as in Turkey and the United States, it appears that China has the potential to become the largest exporter of tomato paste in the world.
In 2003, China's exports of canned tomatoes reached 4 thousand tons (US$1.8 million) and the export of tomato paste reached 0.4 million tons (US$206 million).
Most of the production growth for tomato products is occurring in Asia, which accounts for approximately 50 per cent of global tomato production. China leads the world with over 30 million tons of tomatoes produced every year followed by the United States and then India.
India produces 7.6 million tons of tomato products a year but due to the lack of proper processing its export potential is limited.