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Russia eases Turkish tomato import ban

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The Kremlin has partly reversed the restriction on imported tomatoes from Turkey. The embargo was imposed by Russia in 2016 after Turkish forces shot down a Russian Su-24 jet in Syria.

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However, Turkish tomatoes will not be given free access to the Russian market. A quota system to supplement the Russian market in the winter will be put in place by the Russian Agriculture Ministry.

Earlier in October, the Russian chairman of the of the Russia-Turkey intergovernmental commission Aleksandr Novak said restrictions on the supply of Turkish tomatoes will be removed from November 1. At the same time, it was reported the Ministry of Agriculture proposed to limit imports to 50,000 tons a year.

The restrictions followed the downing of a Russian jet in Syria in November 2015. Ankara’s apology and the subsequent thaw between the countries have led to a partial removal of the embargo, but has not resulted in its cancellation. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in May that Ankara won’t be given full access to the Russian market, as Russian farmers have heavily invested in greenhouses and other facilities.

Russia will only buy tomatoes from Turkey when the country can’t grow sufficient amounts. Before the deterioration in relations, 70 percent of Turkish tomatoes were exported to Russia.

According to various estimates, Turkey lost over $2 billion in tomato exports. Since 2014, production of tomatoes in Russia has grown over 30 percent, said Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Tkachev.


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