Turkish tomatoes leaked through Georgia

Turkish tomatoes leaked through Georgia

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Neighboring state increases its re-export supplies to Russia


Photo: RIA NOVOSTI/Igor Zarembo

Belarusian entrepreneurs are not the only ones trying to capitalize on the ban of import of tomatoes from Turkey to Russia. Georgia also unexpectedly increased the interest in Turkish tomatoes, last year a neighboring state increased its purchases in four times compared with 2015. That explains a sevenfold increase in the supply of tomatoes from Georgia to our country. Rosselkhoznadzor shrug: even the pollen analysis does not allow to prove that tomatoes are not grown in Georgia and in Turkey.

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According to the Turkish statistical Institute (government Agency), at the end of last year, Georgia bought tomatoes for $23.3 million in 2015, the amount of purchases amounted to $6.4 million over the last 10 years, Georgia’s not buying Turkish tomatoes more than $8 million for the year. If we consider the average procurement by Georgia of Turkish tomatoes for 10 years, then at the end of last year had formed the surplus production of at least $15 million — that explains the record growth of supplies to Russia. Only officially, according to the Federal customs service, last year Georgia has put to Russia of tomatoes for $2 million (about 134 million) in the previous two years, these supplies do not exceed $350 thousand according to experts, the basic supplies are illegal and are not reflected in customs statistics.

Georgia is engaged in the smuggling of Turkish tomatoes — says the President of the National Union of vegetable producers Sergei Korolev. Regulatory authorities restrict the re-export supplies from Belarus, but Turkish tomatoes start coming to us from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. In fact, to establish the country of origin of the tomato and where it is impossible.

Dynamics of the increase in supply is clearly visible in the data FTS for January of this year. Only one month Georgia has put to Russia of tomatoes at $145 thousand, for example, four times more than for the whole of 2014. Besides Russia, Georgia almost anywhere tomatoes do not deliver. According to the National statistical office of Georgia, formally, the aggregate amount of tomato export from the Republic amounted to $2.2 million, that is a little more than what was officially delivered to Russia. Last year’s export of tomatoes — also a record at least for the last 10 years. In past years, Georgia has exported tomatoes for a maximum of $850 thousand

The Rosselkhoznadzor is closely monitoring the supplies of Turkish tomatoes through Belarus, but the problems with re-exports also bring other neighbouring States. The Ministry said it has not yet recorded any case of the supply of Turkish tomatoes through Georgia, but to make it fundamentally more difficult than in the case of Belarus.

— Cases of confirmation of the Georgian re-export of tomatoes from Turkey have not been, — informed the press-Secretary of the Rosselkhoznadzor Julia Melano. — There are difficulties with the detection of these supplies. If all documents are in order, the cargo is repacked, it is possible to determine where grown tomatoes for pollen, after analyzing. However, in the case of Georgia, it is not possible to distinguish the country of origin from Turkey as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan over the pollen is impossible.

In General Russia reduces import of tomatoes: if 2014 of tomatoes imported $1 billion in 2016, two times less — $490 million Main suppliers of tomatoes to Russia last year — Morocco, China and Azerbaijan.

The ban on the import of Turkish tomatoes and other products to Russia effective from 1 January 2016. Turkish producers can not compensate for the withdrawal of Russian importer: total at the end of last year the Turks exported tomatoes for $240 million, but in 2015 only Russia has purchased $258 million

As previously wrote “Izvestia”, Turkey is trying to stimulate the lifting of the ban on the supply of tomatoes, removing duty-free treatment for supplies of wheat, corn, sunflower oil and meal, beans and rice from Russia. However, the admission of Turkish tomatoes to Russia may seriously hurt local producers, who have several years of investing in production and can’t compete with the Turks for the price. For many types of Turkish plant products was recently lifted the ban on the import, such as citrus, apricots, plums, onion, shallot, cauliflower and broccoli.

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