Turkey's tomato exports to Russia reached $47.52 million between January and March, up by 411 percent compared to the same period last year.
According to information compiled from Aegean Exporters' Associations data, Turkey earned $292 million in revenue from tomato exports to 53 countries last year. While Turkey's tomato exports to Russia had stood at around $9.3 million in the first three months of 2018, they soared to $47.52 million in the same period this year, with a 411 percent rise. Russia was followed by Romania and Bulgaria.
Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association Chairman Hayrettin Uçak told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the fresh fruit and vegetable season experienced stagnation due to weather conditions. Underlining that exports nevertheless increased, Uçak stated that they fell short of satisfying demand in fresh fruit and vegetable exports. Indicating that product yield dropped compared to last year, he said that fruit exports will rise with the harvest of stone fruit soon.
Pointing out that Russia is the traditional market in fresh fruit and vegetable exports, Uçak said they could not export products to the country for almost a year. "However, we had a quick recovery in this market and have no trouble at the moment. We want to increase the export of not only tomatoes but also all products. We are trying to enter countries where we have not entered before. We are trying to participate in fairs as much as possible and are striving to promote our products," he said.
In January 2016, after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet violating its airspace, Russia banned imports of Turkish fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, oranges, apples, apricots, cabbage, broccoli, mandarins, pears, peaches, cucumbers, plums, strawberries, onions, cloves and also poultry. However, Russia relaxed trade sanctions placed on Turkey during the summer of 2017. Highlighting that they have wanted to add the Far East to their Russian, European, Balkan and Middle Eastern markets for years, Uçak said: "Even though our export to this region has reached a certain point, they are not at the desired level yet. We want to enter the Chinese market in particular. Nine of our companies have permission to export to China. We could not get through some procedures. We are planning to go to China with a delegation soon." Touching on the new reform package announced by Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak Wednesday, Uçak noted that Sera Inc., which will be established in partnership with the Agricultural Credit Cooperative, will have an effect not only on the domestic market, but also on exports. "We estimate that 50 percent of this will contribute to exports," he added.