Russia lifts import ban, Turkey restarts tomato exports


Turkey has restarted exporting tomatoes to Russia as of Friday, marking the end of a two-year ban on imports triggered by the downing of a Russian warplane in 2015.

Russia was one of Turkey's major tomato export destinations before trade relations plummeted.

Products initially banned after the dive in relations were gradually re-allowed. Tomatoes, however, remained as the only product on Russia's ban list.

Turkey's fresh fruit and vegetable exports to Russia, excluding tomatoes, in the January-August period of 2017 showed an increase of 150 percent to reach $259 million, indicating greatly-improving bilateral economic relations between the two countries.

Turkey's annual tomato exports to Russia totaled $260-270 million before the crisis.

The first set of tomatoes was exported from the Agrobay greenhouses, one of the largest growing centers in the world, located in the Bergama district of Turkey's western Izmir province.

Arzu Şentürk, board member of Agrobay Greenhousing, told the Anadolu Agency that the company exported 10,000 tons of tomatoes annually before the 2015 crisis.

This year, Agrobay has reached agreements to export 5,000 tons, Şentürk said.

Russia's Agriculture Deputy Minister Dzhambulat Khatuov said Thursday that all problems regarding the supply of agricultural goods from Turkey have been resolved.

The Russian government announced that limited tomato imports from Turkey would be allowed starting November 1.

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