Turkish exporters want to get top spot in Russian fruits market
As part of their efforts to achieve this target, the fresh fruit and vegetable sector attended WorldFood Moscow 2019 organized Sept.23-27.
A total of 33 Turkish companies attended the major food fair to present their products to Russian importers and consumers.
Hayrettin Uçak, chairman of the Aegean Union of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, noted that the sector’s exports to Russia totaled $938 million in 2014, before a crisis erupted between the two countries. As of 2018, the total exports to Russia are at 70 percent of the 2014 levels, and their aim is to meet the 2014 numbers, he added.
The Russian Federation is Turkey’s most important exports market, Uçak said, adding that the top exports were tomato, tangerine, lemon, fresh grapes, pomegranates and peaches.
“Thirty-three food companies from Turkey successfully promoted our country’s products in Russia. We hope that the positive developments experienced in political relations between Russia and Turkey will help revive trade ties between the two countries,” he said.
“We have made an effective promotion to take back the market we lost to countries like Iran, China, Egypt, Morocco, Azerbaijan and Ecuador in the wake of the crisis in 2015. Countries such as Iran and Azerbaijan, in particular, have come to the forefront in the Russian market with the contribution of geographical proximity and increasing product quality.
We lost our advantages we had in the Russian market, such as the ‘Green Line’ [which eased the procedures at custom gates], to our competitors such as Iran.
We expect all relevant institutions and organizations of our state to mobilize to regain the Russian market.”
Uçak noted that the Turkish exporters visited Food City, the world’s biggest wholesale food distribution center, as part of their program in Moscow.
“We had the opportunity to meet with Turkish shop owners in the Food City,” he said. “They highlighted that there is an extra cost of $2,500-$3,000 for each truck in Turkey compared to our competitors due to taxes and transportation costs. As we engage in efforts to open to new markets, such as cherry exports to China and South Korea, we expect the contribution of everybody, especially our president and relevant ministries, not to lose a traditional and significant market as Russia, and revive it. As sector members, we make every effort to revive our trade by creating trade delegations and participating in such fairs.”
Turkey exported fresh fruit and vegetable worth $938 million to the Russian Federation in 2014, while the number fell to $875 million the next year. With limitations by Russia put on exports from Turkey in the wake of the jet downing crisis in 2015, the total exports dropped by more than a half to $331 million in 2016.
Turkey’s fresh fruit and vegetable exports to Russia saw an increase in 2017, almost doubling from the previous year to $638 million. The total exports of the sector to Russia were $659 million last year and $375 million by the end of August this year.
The top products exported to Russia were apricot, cherry, peach, plum, citrus products, tomatoes and grapes.