There is some bad news for tomato ketchup lovers. According to new research, climate change will have an impact on the global tomato harvest in future years, affecting the availability of ketchup, a staple in many homes and restaurants throughout the world.
According to the study published in Nature, ketchup is prepared from red, sweet, juicy, and ripe tomatoes, all of which are affected by rising temperatures. The researchers wrote in their Nature Food paper, “There are two types of cultivated tomato: one for fresh consumption (for example, salad tomatoes), which is usually grown under controlled conditions; and one for industrial transformation (for example, canned tomatoes), which is usually grown under field conditions.”
“Processing tomatoes are significant since they are used for tomato paste, tomato sauce, ketchup, and other tomato-derived goods,” the report added. A group of academics led by Aarhus University in Denmark developed a mathematical model, which was replicated in the study, to predict how rising temperatures will affect tomato production.
Climate change effects on ketchup and tomato harvest
Using the mathematical model, the researchers discovered that the production of tomatoes would halve between 2050 and 2100 under the worst-case scenario. According to the study, tomato production will decrease by 6% by 2050. According to them, the main tomato-producing countries are Italy, China, and California, which account for two-thirds of global production, and all of them are at risk from global warming.
The worst-case scenario according to the study would see a 2.6-degree Celsius increase in temperature in tomato-producing regions between 2040 and 2069 and a 5-degree Celsius increase over the next 30 years. According to a study published on June 6, “atmospheric CO2 concentration may partially counterbalance, but not totally compensate, the negative consequences of elevated temperatures.”
The computerised mathematical model also anticipated that global processing tomato harvests, which are used to manufacture tomato paste and ketchup, will fall from 14 million tonnes to fewer than seven million tonnes in 11 of the world’s largest growers.
According to a report released last month, climate change caused the scorching heatwave that hit India and Pakistan in March and April 30 times more likely. It went on to say that as the Earth warms, the time between such deadly heatwaves will get shorter.
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