Russia may allow major Turkish enterprises to export tomato
Turkey’s tomato, which has gained a symbolic meaning for the bilateral ties between Moscow and Ankara, may reach Russian market in near future.
Russia levied an embargo on the imports of certain products from Turkey because of the jet-downing crisis in late 2015. Many have been resolved, except the tomato ban, which is the most serious for the Turkish traders.
Rosselkhoznadzor, which has recently inspected several Turkish tomato producers, announced that it can consider only large manufacturers for issuing permits for the tomato import.
The issue was mulled at a meeting of the Turkey-Russia Committee on Agriculture held on September 13-14.
The Russian side drew the attention of Turkish colleagues on Russian phytosanitary security, adding that the most acceptable option is the import of tomatoes from large enterprises, which are both producers and exporters, and capable of ensuring traceability of manufactured products, Ria Novosti reported.
Currently, there are two types of restrictions with respect to Turkish tomatoes.
One of them was introduced by the government of the country. The second is a technical ban, introduced by the Rosselkhoznadzor in connection with the detection of contaminated quarantineable products coming to Russia from Turkey. The ban was introduced on July 4, 2016.
The ban on the tomato import is considered to be the most negative for Turkey since Russia was the largest market for the Turkish tomato export with annual profit amounting to billions of dollars.
After the tomato ban, the amount of Turkish tomato exports to Russia decreased by 10.3 percent while their value dropped by 34.3 percent in 2016.
Turkey exported 541,000 tons of tomatoes to Russia in 2015, however, the amount fell to 486,000 tons. The value of tomato exports to the country was $365.3 million in 2015 and later decreased to $239.9 million, Daily Sabah reported.
However, during the first seven months of the current year, the amount of tomatoes exported to Russia increased by 9.4 percent and the value of tomato exports also surged by 24.7 percent.
During the period of January-July, Turkey's tomato exports to Russia reached $198.3 million from last year's $159 million. Moreover, last year, the amount of tomato exports were recorded at 322,000 tons while it reached to 353,000 tons this year during the first seven months.
Russia says that the reason lies in Russian agriculturists, who invested a large amount of money in the national agriculture during tensions between Russia and Turkey and who are still waiting for the profit.