By Kamila Aliyeva
Turkey’s dream to fully resume tomato exports to Russia may come true quite soon.
Turkish tomato exporters are counting down the days before re-launch of exports to Russia, Turkey’s key agricultural consumer.
The Russian Agriculture Ministry has submitted to the Government its proposals on the mechanism for the resumption of tomato imports from Turkey.
This was stated by First Deputy Minister of Agriculture Evgeny Gromyko, RIA Novosti reported.
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 suppliers.
Rosselkhoznadzor, which has recently inspected several Turkish tomato producers, announced earlier that it can consider only large manufacturers for issuing permits for the tomato import.
In mid September, Kommersant cited the manager of a large vegetable producer in Russia and several representatives of the industry’s lobby group saying supplies could start from several Turkish firms approved by Russia’s watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor.
The supplies may start in October and continue until April or May, 2018, according to sources cited by the Russian newspaper. Turkey may supply between 100,000 tons and 300,000 tons of tomatoes to Russia until next summer.
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 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.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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