The World's Leading Tomato Producing Countries

By Oishimaya Sen Nag on October 2 2020 in Economics

Tomatoes grown in a greenhouse. Image credit: Roman Zaiets/Shutterstock.com
Tomatoes grown in a greenhouse. Image credit: Roman Zaiets/Shutterstock.com
  • As of 2017, China, India, and Turkey are the three leading tomato producing countries in the world. The United States ranks fourth in this category.
  • The tomato plant was probably first introduced to Europe by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.
  • In 2017, the worldwide production of tomatoes totalled 170.8 million tons. China, the leading producer of tomatoes, accounted for 31% of the total production.

Tomato is a highly popular edible fruit that is consumed by people across the world and is used in many cuisines worldwide. The plant species is native to Central and South America. Currently, different varieties of tomato are cultivated in temperate climates and greenhouse conditions that allow the plant to thrive throughout the year. The tomato plant is a perennial in its area of origin while it is grown as an annual elsewhere. As of 2017, China, India, and Turkey are the three leading tomato producing countries in the world. The United States ranks fourth in this category. The table below mentions the 19 countries that produce more than 1,000,000  tonnes of tomatoes annually.

Botany Of The Tomato Plant

The tomato plant is a vine that typically grows about 180 cm above the ground. The plant is a dicot that grows in the form of a series of branching stems. The terminal bud is responsible for the actual growth. The vines are covered with short, fine hairs that turn into roots on coming in contact with the ground. Most of the plants have compound leaves while some have simple ones. The fruit of the plant is classified as a berry and is the part that is consumed. The fruit bears hollow spaces that are laden with seeds and moisture.

History Of Tomato Cultivation

Tomato has been consumed since the ancient times. The Aztecs of South America used the fruit in their dishes as per evidence. By about 500 BC, tomato was already being cultivated in southern Mexico and a few other areas. The tomato plant was probably first introduced to Europe by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés. Soon, it became a popularly cultivated crop across Europe and was also introduced to other parts of the world by European explorers and colonists.

Production Of Tomato

A farmer picking up tomatoes. Image credit: Forestpath/Shutterstock.com

In 2017, the worldwide production of tomatoes totaled 170.8 million tons. China, the leading producer of tomatoes, accounted for 31% of the total production. In China, tomatoes are widely cultivated in open fields or plastic tunnels. Tomato varieties that are red or pink and produce large fruits are generally preferred. India and Turkey followed with the second and third highest production of tomatoes in the world. In India, tomato is cultivated in several states  of the country. In the European Union, tomatoes accounted for 23% of the total output of fresh vegetables in 2014. Of this, more than half was produced in Spain, Italy, and Poland. The global tomato exports the previous year was worth 88 billion USD.

Uses Of Tomato

Tomatoes are 95% water, 4% carbohydrates, and contains less than 1% of proteins and fats. These fruits are a moderate vitamin C source and are generally low in dietary nutrients.

Tomatoes are consumed worldwide and used in diverse ways in different world cuisines. Tomatoes are eaten raw in salads or used to prepare tomato soup and ketchup. Tomato juice is a popular drink and used in cocktail preparation. Since the tomatoes are acidic in nature, it is easy to preserve tomato pastes and sauces at home. These fruits are a key ingredient in pizzas and other Italian dishes. In India, tomatoes are a favorite additive in cuisine due to the tangy flavor contributed by the tomato to the dish.

Which Are The World's Leading Tomato Producing Countries?

RankCountryTomato production in 2017 (in tonnes)
1 China59,514,773
2 India20,708,000
3 Turkey12,750,000
4 United States10,910,990
5 Egypt7,297,108
6 Iran6,17,290
7 Italy6,015,868
8 Spain5,163,466
9 Mexico4,243,058
10 Brazil4,230,150
11 Nigeria4,100,000
12 Russia3,230,718
13 Uzbekistan2,455,125
14 Ukraine2,267,460
15 Portugal1,747,634
16 Tunisia1,298,000
17 Morocco1,293,761
18 Algeria1,286,286
19 Cameroon1,279,853

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