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Which nations are benefitting from the Russian-Turkey food feud?

After a year of tensions, Turkey and Russia looked like there were ready to settle their food trade issues in 2016. 2017, so far, has failed to build on this promise. New problems have reared their heads, meaning some Turkish products are still banned from Russian import.

But where a door closes, a window opens. A clutch of other nations spotted the Turkey-shaped hole in Russia’s import market – and have substantially stepped up their export efforts to fill it.
Let’s take a look at some of the big winners, and which supply gaps they are filling in Russia.

Morocco gains major Russian import market share

Tomatoes were a major export commodity for Turkey, regarding Russia, but now this once popular product group has been banned indefinitely by the Russian authorities. Russia’s domestic tomato production pales in comparison with more established growers – meaning it had no real choice but to look elsewhere to secure its tomato supplies.

Enter Morocco. Since 2015, the North African state has quadrupled its Russian tomato exports. This initially secured Morocco an 8% share of the tomato market in 2015. Now, over 83,000 tons of the round, red fruit leaves Moroccan shores bound for Russian consumers, each year.

Morocco has grown its exports even further over the last twelve months. 56.6% of all tomatoes available in Russia were of Moroccan origin in the first quarter of 2016 – up from the 17.3% seen during the same period in 2015.

Elsewhere, Moroccan officials met with their Russian counterparts in March of 2016, to look at expanding the nation’s export product portfolio. Now, Russia imports over 200 extra agriproducts from Morocco, including grapes, peppers, broccoli, and seafood.

Russia sources more citrus fruits from Egypt

Even with more greenhouses and farms popping up around the country, the Russian climate doesn’t lend itself well to citrus production. Russia turns to overseas suppliers to satiate its demand for citrus fruits. Previously, this is where Turkish exporters would be rejoicing – but we know now that is not the case.

Egypt was one of the first countries to begin stepping up its citrus fruit exports to Russia after the implementation of the Turkey-focussed food ban. 25% of all of Egypt’s citrus exports are sent to Russia. Over 530,000 tons of Egyptian citrus fruits, including oranges and mandarins, hit the Russian market in 2016.

Russia imports around $300 million worth of Egyptian fruits and vegetables annually. Citrus fruits account for over half of this value, so the fruit trade is already big business for both nations.
As of January 2017, Egypt is no longer subject to the 5% customs duty on goods entering the Eurasian Economic Union, of which Russia is by far the biggest economy, so import levels could rise exponentially.

Compared with Turkish producers, Egyptian firms holds a big competitive advantage: cheaper prices with no discernible loss in quality. Now, with import duties stripped away and Russian household budgets favouring value-for-money products, expect to see more Egyptian citrus on the Russian market.

Discover more opportunities in free Russian import market report

Turkey and Russia’s food feud looks like it will not be resolved any time soon. The opportunities for international producers to capitalise on the gaps left in Turkey’s wake will remain – and grow as long as Russia’s Turkish food ban stays in place.

To find out how other countries are taking advantage of Russia’s food embargo, why not download our free 14-page report on the market? Freshly updated for 2017, this guide details nine countries expanding their Russian presence, key export products, and inspiration on how your business can enter Russia.

Want the freshest guide on the market to Russia’s food industry? Click the link to download your free copy of Filling the Food Market Gap – A Guide to Expanded Food & Beverage Opportunities in Russia.


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Tony Higginson

International Sales Director


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