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Tomatoes: Turkey’s biggest export product

It has been a turbulent time for Turkey recently, but not all news coming from the country is bad. For Turkish growers and exporters of tomatoes, 2016 has been a strong year so far as the fruit has been identified as Turkey’s biggest food export product.
Data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TSI) and the Association of Exporters revealed that 315,000 tonnes of tomatoes were exported in the first half of 2016. Not only is this the largest fruit and vegetable product by volume but also by export value.
Cherries followed as the second most valuable export product with 51,000 tonnes exported during this period. Lemons came in third with 160,000 tonnes shipped, then oranges (185,000 tonnes), peppers (67,000 tonnes), tangerines (116,000 tonnes), grapefruit (124,000 tonnes), pomegranate (75,000 tonnes) and finally zucchinis (42,000 tonnes). 
Iraq was the largest importer of Turkish produce across the first six months of 2016, importing fruits and vegetables worth $155 million. Countries who bought food from Turkey across the review period are listed below:
• Iraq - $155 million
• Germany - $110 million
• Russia - $92 million
• Romania - $70 million
• Ukraine - $52 million
• Belarus - $48 million
• Saudi Arabia - $41 million
• Georgia - $40 million
• Bulgaria - $26 million
• The Netherlands - $26 million
Belarus was the largest buyer of Turkish tomatoes, while Germany was the largest consumer of green peppers and cherries. Iraqis, however, preferred oranges and mandarins whereas the Russian market favoured lemons, zucchinis, aubergines and pomelos. 
Russia imported goods worth $451 million in the first half of 2015. However, the jet crisis, and subsequent Russian-imposed import restrictions on Turkish fruit and vegetable products, has greatly affected Turkey’s food exports in 2016 so far. 
A report from Fruitnet suggests that Turkish tomatoes are sorely missed by Russian consumers. “The Russian people like Turkish fruit,” Elena Akuletskaya, head of the import department of St. Petersburg-based importers Friend Fruits Group, told Fruitnet. “Delivery times were shorter than from Morocco and the quality on arrival was mostly good with decent colour and taste.” 
A number of states, such as the aforementioned Morocco, alongside Iraq and Israel, have so far been unable to replace the volumes of products previously sourced from Turkey by Russia. This has led to a shortage of many salad vegetables, including cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, courgettes and aubergines.
Image: © Zlakto Unger via Flickr


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