Turkey's fresh fruit, vegetable exports to Russia back up to full speed

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 06.03.2018 00:00

Favorable news for Turkish fresh fruit and vegetable exporters and producers came from the Russian Federation, as Russia has finally given permission for the importation of fresh produce, such as pomegranates, eggplants, zucchinis, peppers and lettuce, from Turkey. From now on, Turkish exporters will be able to export their products to Russia without company restrictions. Prior to the jet-downing crisis in November 2015, Turkey earned close to $100 million from exports of these products to Russia. The Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance gave the go-ahead for the importation of pomegranates, eggplants, peppers, lettuce, pumpkins, squash and other gourds from Turkey starting yesterday.

Mustafa Satıcı, chairman of the Western Mediterranean Exporters' Association (BAİB), noted that they welcomed the decision, highlighting that they are expecting the same positive news for tomato exports as well.

"The restrictions on our fresh produce have started to gradually be lifted. As Turkish exporters, we welcome the recent step taken," he continued. "As you know, not all our companies can export tomatoes to Russia. Only a few companies are approved for exporting tomatoes. The company restrictions on tomato exports should be terminated." Satıcı recalled that prior to the jet-downing crisis, Turkey received close to $100 million from the exports of these products to Russia. "With this decision, an export gate of approximately $100 million was opened. Our exporters will start the shipping as soon as possible, bringing the export figures back to their former level and then raising them," he added.

Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) board member and Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association Chairman Rıza Seyyar recalled in a statement yesterday that exports of tomatoes, pomegranates, eggplants, zucchinis, peppers and lettuce from Turkey to Russia were lifted in 2016.

Indicating that with the developments in relations between the two countries, the ban on tomato exports was lifted on Nov. 1 last year, but a company quota application was implemented, Seyyar said it was the reason why the exports did not increase as expected.

"We think we can exceed $1 billion in exports to the country with the removal of the quotas," Seyyar added.

Meanwhile, in the first two months of 2018, exports of fresh fruit, vegetables and citrus products to Russia reached $184 million. With this figure, Russia led the way in the exports of fresh fruits and vegetables and citrus products from Turkey. In the last 2 months, the exports of these products from Turkey amounted to $677 million worldwide. According to Turkish Exporters' Assembly data, Turkey's fresh fruit and vegetable exports to Russia increased by 65 percent in the first 2 months of 2018 compared to the same period last year, rising from $66 million to $109 million.

On a year-to-year basis, Turkey's exports to Russia stood at $938 million in 2014, $877 million in 2015, $331 million in 2016 and $638 million in 2017.

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