Iraq bans tomato imports from Turkey after Russia
ANKARAIraq has announced it would ban tomato imports from Turkey as of May 21 to protect its own producers, according to an official statement from the Turkish Economy Ministry.
Turkey’s tomato sector had already been under pressure due to an ongoing import ban by Russia.
Iraqi authorities decided to quit importing tomato from Turkey in a bid to protect their own farmers, according to the statement released on May 20.
They have also foreseen that local producers, especially in Najaf and Karbala provinces, will be able to meet the domestic demand over this year, it said.
Russia has agreed to lift all sanctions imposed on imported items from Turkey after a jet crisis, except tomatoes.
The leaders of the two countries came together at a meeting in Sochi on May 3, which came at a time when the price of the vegetable had skyrocketed.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin said Russia’s embargo on the import of tomatoes from Turkey and its visa restrictions on Turkish nationals will remain in place for the time being.
He did not provide a date to when the two restrictions would be lifted.
Turkey’s tomato exports rose from $106.5 million in 2015 to $239.9 million in 2016 when the Russian market was excluded, showed data from the Turkish Agricultural Chambers Union (TZOB).
Its total tomato exports, however, regressed from $365.3 million to $239.9 million in the mentioned period when Russia is included.
Following the Russian ban on Turkish tomato, local farmers had directed their products to alternative markets, mainly Iraq, Belarus, Georgia and Saudi Arabia, the TZOB said in a statement in March.
Turkey, which meets some 6.9 percent of the world’s tomato needs, is the fourth largest tomato exporter, according to the TZOB statement.