Pandemic hits tomato farmers


The coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted the welfare of tomato producers on Crete, as demand for the product has plunged.

Unseasonably warm weather in April meant that tomatoes, of which Crete is the top producer in Greece, ripened earlier. But with restaurants only open for delivery and hotels still empty, producers had difficulty finding buyers.

Producers also said the lack of weddings has made matters worse.

Cretan wedding receptions are famously lavish, with guests often topping 1,000.

A middleman who buys from farmers to sell to retailers said he could move only 5% of the produce he had bought. As a result, tomatoes are being thrown away or used for animal feed.