The Ministry of Agriculture plans to increase import quota on Turkish tomatoes up to 150 thousand tons
Although the Turkish tomato import ban was entirely called off on the 1st of May 2018, supplies volume still didn’t reach the “before-sanctions” level. The draft of the Ministry of Agriculture order concerning the Turkish tomato import quota was posted on the website Reghulation.gov.ru.
Totally Russia imported 578 thousand tons of tomatoes in 2018. Before the embargo Turkish tomatoes took nearly 40-50% of total Russian import. In 2018 the situation completely changed: Turkey ranked the sixth in the tomato importers list with the volume of 34,9 thousand tons. The top five list included Azerbaijan (170 000 tons), Morocco (92 000 tons), China (88 000 tons), Belorussia (57 000 tons) & Armenia (37 000 tons).
Though Turkey hadn’t exceed the previous quota of 50 thousand tons by the end of 2018, this volume was half as much again in the first quarter of 2019 & reached 76,8 thousand tons. It’s the second case this year. In January 2019 the volume was risen from 50 up to 100 thousand tons. So, at least three times growth of Turkish tomato import is expected by the end of 2019. According to the Ministry of Agriculture the quota increase “will not materially affect the Russian home market due to the nominal volume share of 1,5%”. But the balance in the top five tomato importers list will change.
Among the possible causes of quota revision, Anatoly Kutsenko, the President of Fruits-and-vegetables Union, named the Rosselkhoznadzor efforts to Turkish tomato supplying traffic balancing. Tomatoes are delivered to Russia also through Belorussia. As it has been mentioned earlier in “VEDOMOSTY”, the government agency suspects, sanction products are shipped as the Turkish vegetables. Anatoly Kutsenko supposes the ban on Turkish tomato import through the other countries will become one of the possible monitoring activities.
There are also some claims concerning the Turkish tomato quality. One of the Russian essential demands for repeal of the import ban in 2018 was the place of production should be clear of Tuta absoluta. The phytosanitary quarantine control is carried out in Border Inspection Posts in concert with Turkish party. But the problem hasn’t been solved yet.
The Turkish tomato import ban caused the growth of total production. According to the Ministry of Agriculture more than 2,3 million tons of tomatoes were harvested in Russia in 2017. And the volume share of local vegetables increased up to 41% in the same period (from 36% in 2016 & 21% in 2014). Anatoly Kutsenko considers that in spite of the growing tomato demand quota increase can impact the home market & bears a risk for local producers.