Russian exports boost Turkey’s fruit, vegetable trade

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Resolving problems with Russia played a major role in boosting Turkey's fruit and vegetable exports in the first four month of this year.

The exports rose 25 percent this Jan.-April, compared to the same period last year, reaching $794 million from $635 million, according to the Uludag Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters' Association (UYMSIB).

Other factors which contributed to the increase were confidence and appreciation of Turkish products in European markets and access to new markets.

A total of 1,557 million tons of fruits and vegetables were exported during the period, a 17-percent increase in volume, the association said.

During the same period, exports to Russia rose by 125 percent, from $90 million to $202 million, respectively, and the volume went up by 91 percent reaching around 315,000 tons.

Russian exports contributed to 70 percent ($112 million) of $159 million, the increase in revenue generated when compared to the Jan.-April period last year, UYMSIB 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, and cloves, and also poultry.

However, Russia relaxed trade sanctions placed on Turkey during the summer of 2017.

"Export figures, which were around $635 million last year, approached $800 million this year for the same period [January to April]. So, there is an added value of about $160 million," Senih Yazgan, vice chairman of the association, told Anadolu Agency.

Yazgan also said that exports of UYMSIB exceeded $25 million from January to April, with an increase of around 40 percent, compared to last year.

"European markets, Russian market and other new markets have had a significant impact on this increase," he added.

Yazgan said they have started exporting products to Scandinavian countries, which till now were an untapped European market.

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