Moscow’s decision to import more tomatoes from Türkiye came after a recent exchange between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The two had a phone conversation last week on April 27.
“This decision has cleared the path for Turkish producers to sell more tomatoes to Russia,” said Hayrettin Uçak, the president of the Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters’ Association.
Russia had been the top export market for years for local growers, but shipments to this country dropped after Moscow introduced a quota on this produce from Türkiye, Uçak added.
In 2021, Türkiye’s tomato exports stood at $68 million but declined to $33 million last year, according to Uçak.
“After the latest decision [regarding the import quota], we expect tomato exports to Russia to recover, and Russia once again becomes the top export market,” he said.
Uçak predicts that total tomato exports may reach $500 million at the end of 2023.
Revenues from tomato exports amounted to $377 million last year, while exports climbed 22 percent in the first quarter of 2023 compared with the same period of 2022 to generate $145 million in revenues, according to Uçak.
Türkiye’s fresh fruit and vegetable exports to Russia grew 59 percent year-on-year in January-March to more than $258 million, while total exports increased by 23.4 percent to $941 million.
In March alone, shipments by the sector to Russia rose by 116 percent to $85 million.
In an earlier statement, Uçak said that fresh fruit and vegetable growers in the Aegean region target a total of $1.5 billion in export revenue in 2023.