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The Agriculture and Forestry Ministry Friday has implemented a restriction on tomato exports until April 14, 2023. The decision was made to ensure food supply security and price stability, as tomato prices have surged and the recent earthquakes that hit the country’s southeast and affected 11 provinces have further exacerbated the situation.

The ministry has issued a restriction to all 81 provinces and said the decision was made based on the abnormal price increases in tomatoes in the country over the past few days.

The decision, dated March 2, 2023, entails the restrictions on fresh and frozen tomato exports, excluding export applications to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), the State of Palestine, the Republic of Azerbaijan (including Nakhchivan) as well as the export applications made by the Türkiye Agricultural Credit Cooperatives and their affiliated companies in secured regions in Syria, applications of the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) or other humanitarian aid organizations, applications whose recipient is a humanitarian aid organization such as the U.N., the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Red Cross and applications for products with Organic Product Certificates.

The fruit and vegetable crisis in Europe has also been said to have played a role in the decision to restrict exports.

Recently, some chain markets in Britain have faced empty vegetable and fruit aisles due to supply problems from Spain and North Africa. Consumers have also experienced limited availability of certain products, particularly tomatoes. As a result, European companies have turned to Türkiye as a potential source of tomato supply. This potential increase in demand from Europe is thought to have influenced the decision to impose the export restriction.

According to sector representatives, the restriction on tomato exports will have an adverse impact on both tomato producers in the disaster area and those who operate independently.

In August 2022, Müslüm Yanmaz, head of the Greenhouse Investors and Producers Association (Sera-Bir), in an interview on Bloomberg HT’s Agriculture-Analysis program, said that the tomato prices were soaring because of the increased demand for exports. The interruption of production in Europe, which is undergoing an energy crisis, has also contributed to this rise. Yanmaz had predicted that prices could rise to TL 50 (2.65) per kilogram in 2023.

Currently, tomato prices are hovering between TL 35 to TL 40 per kilogram in Türkiye…

About İsmail Uğural

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