Turkish fresh vegetable exports fell 73%
The Mediterranean Exporters Union General Secretariat (AKIB) published the January-February 2015/2016 sector assessment report, according to which total citrus exports declined 34%, and the export of fresh fruit and vegetables realised a drop of 73%.
The Chamber of Agricultural Engineers Adana Branch President Semih Karademir, explains that the Turkish-Russian crisis has been reflected numerically in the agricultural sector.
Karademir said that according to Turkstat foreign trade data in January of 2015, $315 million of exports were made from Turkey to Russia but in January 2016 this fell to $107 million, a decline of 66%.
The highest decrease in exports was registered in apples, tomatoes, oranges, mandarins, strawberries and grapes, and on a country basis, the greatest declines in exports were registered to Russia.
While total fresh fruit and vegetable exports to Russia in January-February 2015 equated to 143 million dollars, this fell to 38 million in January-February 2016. Karademir said,
"We’re talking about a close to 73% decrease. This wasn’t just in exports to Russia, exports to Iraq declined 23%, to Syria 45% and to Bulgaria 26%. Attempts were made to counteract these declines by increasing exports to Ukraine, Romania, Belarus and Israel, but it is evident from the total decline in agricultural exports that this did not work."
Most citrus exports are made to Russia and Iraq, reports Karademir, for this reason farmers are expecting difficult days. The problems that are being experienced by tomato growers in Antalya will affect Adana’s citrus growers in September, October, November and December.
Karademir concluded, "We ask for support for growers before it is too late. We should have help in finding new markets for our exports. To reduce these losses to a minimum, a variety of measures should be taken." ■