In February, Russia increased the quota for tomatoes imported from Turkey from 150,000 to 200,000 tons. As of May 14, Turkish tomato exports to Russia reached 190,000 tons. As the additional quota is about to be filled, the Western Mediterranean Exporters' Association (BAIB) warned their members about the risk of rejection at the customs. In February, when the initial 150,000 ton quota was filled, Russia sent back Turkish tomatoes from the customs and tons of tomatoes were left to rot.
"In case the quota is filled, we might risk our tomatoes getting stuck at the Turkish or Russian customs. Our companies should be aware of this and check the quota situation beforehand in order to avoid problems." The Western Mediterranean Exporters' Association said in an announcement.
The association's vice-president Ergin Civan said that Russia started importing tomatoes from Turkic Republics and Iran as well and he continued: "This is the reason why we don't have a busy export season. However, we are continuing our talks with Russia. We would like the quota to be completely removed so that exports can continue based on demand."
Civan said that besides Russia, Turkey continues to export tomatoes to Romania, Ukraine and Balkan countries such as Bulgaria and other European countries. The export prices of tomatoes range from 4 to 4.5 Turkish Lira (0.54 to 0.6 Euro) per kilo depending on the variety, he added. Civan underlined that apart from tomatoes, there are no problems in exporting other fresh fruits and vegetables products to Russia.