How to import Tomato Paste

How to Import Tomato Paste

According to, an industry website dedicated to the international trade of tomatoes and tomato products, Tomatoes are the most processed of all the vegetables in the world. According to their research, approximately ¼ of the annual tomato crop each year is processed into canned tomato sauce, ketchup, and tomato paste. Tomato paste is the most commonly processed tomato item of all tomato products including sauces and ketchup and canned and diced tomatoes.

Essential Facts to Consider When Importing Tomato Paste

Pricing, HS codes, forms of tomato paste, and tomato paste prices are all significant factors to consider when importing tomato paste.

Tomato Paste HS Code

Harmonized System (HS) Codes are an international standard of numbers used to classify products that are imported and exported internationally. These codes make it easy for countries around the world to identify a product regardless of its origin or destination. One of the most common HS codes for tomato paste is HS 200290, which identifies tomato paste prepared without vinegar. The following are a few of the various tomato paste HS codes that can help you secure the specific type of tomato paste that you plan to import:

Tomato Paste HS Codes From Nigeria Customs Service

Tomato Paste HS Code


2002.9020.00 Tomato Paste or Concentrate for Retail Sale
2002.9011.00 Triple Concentrate
2002.9019.00 Other concentrate (excluding Triple concentrate)
2002.9090.00 Other Tomatoes prepared or preserved not specified.
Source: Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Government of Nigeria

Types of Tomato Paste

When importing tomato paste, it’s important to consider in what form you’d like to import the product. Tomato paste comes in a variety of forms including in cans, cartons, packets, and jars. In addition, some tomato paste is sold by the can, others in cartons or larger shipping containers. Regardless of the form in which you buy tomato paste, buying large containers of the product is more cost-effective than buying smaller portions.

Prices to Import Tomato Paste

Prices for imported tomato paste vary widely from $250 – $800 USD per metric ton. Many suppliers require a minimum order of 10-30 tonnes. Some suppliers prefer to sell tomato paste in cartons or large 20-foot containers. Because it’s a very inexpensive product that is consumed regularly, tomato paste is almost always imported in bulk.

International Trade of Tomato Paste

Top Producers of Tomato Paste

Along with seven other nations in Asia, Eurasia, South America, and Europe, there ten countries produced the bulk of the world’s tomatoes in 2017, according to

The top producers of tomatoes in 2017 were California, China, and Italy, respectively. In 2018, AMITOM predicts the top producers will be California, Italy, and China, in that order. Other countries that are expected to produce at least one ton of tomatoes include Iran, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Brazil, and Chile.

Tomato Paste Importers

Adding to the growth of the industry is the fact that tomato paste is typically consumed in countries with a high GDP. Among the top tomato paste importers are the United States (New Jersey, Illinois, and California are top importing states), Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

African Countries in the Tomato Trade

The key players in the African tomato paste trade are Tunisia, Zimbabwe,, with each country participating in a different part of the process. Tunisia is the top tomato producer in Africa, growing an estimated 640 tonnes of tomatoes in 2017. According to AMITOM’s August 2018 report, of the 560,000 tonnes of tomatoes produced in Tunisia, over 97% (approximately 545,000 tonnes) served in tomato paste processing.

Zimbabwe opened the country’s first tomato processing plant, developed by Sondelani Ranch, and dedicated exclusively to producing tomato paste. The 2 million dollar plant opened in June 2018. The plant has taken a unique approach to sourcing tomatoes, depending on local farmers in a religious cooperative to supply tomatoes. According to the Sunday News, the plant aims to produce at least 1.5 hectares of tomatoes each day, and meet some demand of the continent’s top importers, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola.

Largest Associations in the Tomato Paste Industry

If you are planning to import tomato paste wholesale, an excellent place to begin is with one or both of the two major governing bodies in the tomato processing industry. AMITOM is the Association Méditeranéenne Internationale de la Tomate (English: The International Mediterranean Tomato Organization) is based in France. The WPTC is the World Processing Tomato Council and according to its website, claims that its members are responsible for over 95% of tomato production worldwide.

If you are planning on importing tomato paste from Spain, France, Greece, Israel, Turkey, Italy, Tunisia, or Portugal, AMITOM is an ideal organization to join for resources and support. AMITOM holds a joint conference with WPTC, and the 14th World Processing Tomato Congress is scheduled to be held in March 2020 in Argentina.

Both tomato paste producers and tomato paste buyers would benefit from joining the World Processing Tomato Council. Though there is some overlap in the governing body between AMITOM and WPTC and both organizations are based in Avignon, France, the latter organization hosts members from all over the world. The organization holds bi-annual conferences, and if you’re wondering where to find tomato paste, you can meet tomato paste suppliers, organizations that import tomato paste wholesale, and other stakeholders in the tomato paste industry at the bi-annual conference.

Problems with Tomato Paste Suppliers

Protests Over Importing China Tomato Paste Bulk

International trade is not without its challenges, and from time-to-time things do go awry. In recent years, protesters in different regions in the world from Africa to Europe have protested local companies that buy tomato paste from China. The following are some of the incidents that have occurred over the years:

  • In 2015, Italian protesters condemned the foreign tomato industry. Specifically, consumers complained about the lack of transparency in the industry. Vague listed only where a tomato product was packed, not where it originated.
  • One local businessman from Nigeria, Eric Umeofia, went as far as declaring to end the import of tomato paste from China permanently. He claimed that the Nigerian government unfairly penalized local companies and prevented their success in the tomato paste market.
  • NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control) in Nigeria defended itself against claims of importing low-quality tomato paste products made by local tomato paste companies.
  • In 2017, Nigeria placed a ban on tomato paste imports in powder or liquid form. In addition, the government placed high tariffs on tomato concentrate. Algeria placed a similar ban on foreign tomato products. Both countries explained the reasoning behind the ban and tariffs were the promotion and development of local products.

Resources for Tomato Paste Buyers and Tomato Paste Suppliers

  • AMITOM – Association Méditeranéenne Internationale de la Tomate (English: The International Mediterranean Tomato Organization), a resource for tomato producers in the Mediterranean region. Website:
  • WPTC – World Processing Tomato Council, a resource for tomato producers around the world. Website:

Associations for Tomato Producers in Africa

Steps to Import Tomato Paste

With all of the information on the tomato industry, it may seem overwhelming to determine how and where to get started. International regulations, a limited budget, and a lack of experience all make it difficult to determine that you have met all of the necessary guidelines to import tomato paste legally. Assuming you’ve obtained the necessary business licenses and operating permits, this short guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to import tomato paste into your country.

Step 1: Do Your Research

Before you take the necessary steps to import tomato paste into your country, it’s imperative to do your research on the tomato paste industry, and determine what types of tomato paste are most demand in your area, and who the top exporters are in your region of the world. Associations, such as AMITOM and WPTC publish quarterly, and in some cases, monthly, status updates on the state of tomato production in various regions of the world. These organizations also produce news articles on other developments in the tomato paste industry.

Step 2: Determine Type of Tomato Paste and Tomato HS Codes

After you’ve done some research to determine the state of the tomato industry in your area, it’s time to determine what type of tomato paste you need. Tomato paste is typically imported in cans, packets, cartons, or jars. In some cases, tomato paste is also imported in powder form. Once you’ve determined the type of tomato paste you need, it’s essential to look at tomato HS codes. The Ministry of Finance will likely contain a directory of tomato HS codes and associated tariffs and fees for importing each type of product. Knowing the HS code of the product you plan to import is crucial, as it will help you determine the overall cost of the product.

Step 3: Review the Price of Tomato Paste in the Market

Once you’ve determined the type of tomato paste you need, you can research prices in the tomato market. It’s helpful to understand that not all tomato paste is packaged and sold in the same way. Some tomato paste suppliers sell their product according to weight in tonnes; others sell the product by the carton or container. The most significant thing to remember when researching pricing is that the more you can afford to buy in bulk, the more you will save. It’s essential to balance this principle with your market demand, and your ability to sell the product before it expires because tomato paste is a perishable product.

Step 4: Find a Supplier

After reviewing the pricing, it’s time to find a trusted supplier. When importing products, it’s important to find a supplier that communicates promptly, provides detailed information and is organized and reliable. Most importantly, the supplier should provide a high-quality product. In the international trade industry, it’s likely that you’ll encounter a problem or delay at some point. Even the best suppliers experience delays. The most important thing is finding a supplier with good communication skills that will work with you through delays in the process.

Step 5: Place a Small Order

Before committing to a supplier place several orders with one or more suppliers to evaluate a possible work relationship. A few items to include on a checklist when vetting a tomato paste supplier include:

  • If problems arise, did the supplier notify you?
  • Were the estimates accurate?
  • Were there delays?
  • Was it difficult to reach the supplier if you encountered a problem?

While bulk orders will help you in the long run, your first order with a prospective supplier should be small. Be wary of new and unestablished suppliers that ask for a significant amount of money up front. Look for suppliers with references and reviews, and check their business address, website, and contact information to ensure the information matches.

Step 6: Test the Product

When ordering a perishable product, such as tomato paste that will be consumed by humans, it’s imperative that you test you independently test your product, even if it’s been verified by other sources, including your supplier. One single recall can damage your brand, and even if the supplier is at fault, as the importer, you will be held responsible by your customers in the event of illness or worse as a result of consuming your products. Testing is a process that is seen as an excessive or unnecessary expense, but that can ultimately preserve your brand in the long run.

Step 7: Find a Partner

Before taking any of the steps above, it’s a good idea to find a trusted partner. WaystoCap is a platform and your partner in finding trusted suppliers, market research, understanding pricing and regulations in your area. The greatest benefit of having a trusted partner when importing a product like tomato paste is that you’ll have a reliable independent resource to answer questions about your needs. Given the recent problems in the tomato paste industry and specifically with tomato paste suppliers it’s important to work with a partner that can provide a list of well-reputed brands.

WaystoCap Can Help You Find Tomato Paste Suppliers

Whether you need help finding the right tomato paste HS code or finding a reliable tomato paste supplier in top tomato exporting countries, WaystoCap can help. WaystoCap is a B2B platform that facilitates international trade, assisting both buyers and sellers in the trade process. On the WaystoCap platform, you can compare tomato paste wholesale prices, source reputable tomato paste suppliers, and find all the support you need to facilitate a safe buying experience.


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