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Russia lifts import restrictions for Turkish tomato trade

Staff Writer |
The protracted negotiations to lift the ban imposed on Turkish tomato exports to Russia, which have topped the agenda of Turkish-Russian talks since January 2016, recently yielded positive results, with Russia agreeing to import Turkish tomatoes on a limited basis.

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With the lifting of the restrictions, the first shipment to Russia has been made from the Bergama district of İzmir province.

Tomatoes harvested in Bergama's Agrobay greenhouses were loaded onto trucks and sent to an unacknowledged leading retail chain in Russia's St. Petersburg.

The tomatoes will be delivered to 750 grocery stores across the country.

Speaking to the Anadolu Agency (AA), Agrobay Greenhouse board member Arzu Şentürk said the board had signed a contract to export 5,000 tons of tomatoes this year to Russia, adding that they had delivered 10,000 tons of tomatoes prior to the jet downing crisis of November 2015.

Şentürk said the reopening of the tomato export market is good, noting that the political developments surrounding the jet downing crisis had resulted in the halting of shipments to Russia, despite the signing of a sales contract with the Russian grocery chain last year.

Explaining that Agrobay Greenhouse had signed the agreement with one of Russia's biggest discount store chains, and sent the first product, Şentürk recalled that the Russian market had been Turkey's biggest market since 2003.

Adding that the 10,000 tons of tomatoes delivered prior to the jet downing crisis were part of the 14,000 tons in annual production formerly slated for export to Russia prior to the crisis.

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