Russia's agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor sent a crew of experts to Turkey for on-site examinations of citrus orchards and vineyards and facilities.
A crew from Russia's Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) came to Turkey to investigate production areas and food analysis laboratories. The move came after a normalization process began between Ankara and Moscow last month, paving the way for Turkish exporters to resume exports to Russia.
Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) Executive Board member Rıza Seyyar said the Rosselkhoznadzor crew's visit, which focuses on examination, will support the reconciliation of problems regarding Turkish exports to Russia in hopes the issues will be resolved soon. Seyyar said there have been some important developments in finding solutions to the problems in the export of agricultural products to Russia in the aftermath of Turkey shooting down a Russian jet.
Recalling that Russia, Turkey's top importer of fresh fruits and vegetables, had previously sent crews annually to inspect products for health and safety standards and hygiene control, Seyyar said that relations between the two countries returning to normal is promising for both countries' futures.
Explaining that they consider Rosselhoznadzor's visit to be very important, Seyyar said the crew, which includes two officials from Russia's Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry, examined citrus production facilities and a packaging plant in Adana as well as food control labs that operate under the İzmir Directorate of Agricultural Quarantine and the Bornova Plant Protection Research Institute. Following their visit to vineyards and packaging plants in the Alaşehir district in Manisa province, the crew will hold an assessment meeting with the ministry.
Indicating that the crew has to make positive assessments for Russia to give the green light to resume export of these products, Seyyar said they hope there will not be any problems in the report. Seyyar said that the sector is waiting in hopes for a positive outcome from the upcoming meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Aug. 9. The meeting will be the first between the two leaders since Turkey downed a Russian jet near the Syrian border on Nov. 24 last year.
According to TİM data, fruit and vegetable exports to Russia during the first half of the year dropped to $1.3 million, decreasing 58 percent compared to the same period from the previous year. The export of grapes, Russia's top import product, was not disrupted problem since the grape export season had already ended. Of Turkey's $141 million in total grape exports last season, $97 million came from Russia. Turkey's citrus exports to Russia dropped to $244 million this year, decreasing 25 percent compared to the previous year.