Climate change will hit tomatoes hard

(ORDO NEWS) — According to scientists’ forecasts, in the near future, global warming and a decrease in yields may deprive humanity of a significant part of tomatoes. This is especially true for fruits that are grown in the open field and are used for processing, making canned food, ketchup and other sauces.

Global climate change poses a threat not only to natural ecosystems , but also to agriculture, including crop production.

As a rule, scientists pay attention to the most important for food security cereals and potatoes, because they provide us with most of the calories and protein. At the same time, problems can arise with vegetables, without which a healthy diet is unthinkable, including tomatoes.

We are talking primarily about the fruits grown for processing and preparation of various sauces and preservation. As a rule, these are special varieties that do not come fresh to supermarkets.

“Tomatoes destined for processing are grown outdoors, so we have no control over their growing conditions. This makes their cultivation sensitive to climate change,” said Professor Davide Cammarano of the University of Aarhus, Denmark, the first author of a new article in Nature Food.

His colleagues from Italy, various US universities and even the NASA Research Institute also worked on the study.

Most of the tomatoes intended for processing grow in the south of the temperate zone – their plantings are concentrated around 40 parallels of both hemispheres. The 11 cultivation centers located there supply 85 percent of these fruits to the world market.

Three of them the United States (primarily California), Italy, and parts of China (Gansu, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang) account for 65 percent. It was these territories that became the study regions: according to the authors, there will be changes that do not favor the cultivation of tomatoes.

Scientists used five different models of climate change and created three possible scenarios for the development of events. According to them, in the coming decades in these areas there will be a noticeable increase in average temperature and an increase in water shortages. Especially big problems with a drought expect Italy.

At the same time, in California and China, the prospects for growing tomatoes will continue. Moreover, warming can even slightly increase yields. However, this will require the transfer of American and Chinese tomatoes to the north.

In this case, Mongolia, which is usually not associated with vegetable growing, also turns out to be a promising place for growing vegetables.

Nevertheless, the authors believe that the shift in the centers for growing open-ground tomatoes will not be able to fully compensate for the decline in yield , and scientists and farmers should think about a possible future shortage of vegetables right now.

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