Turkish Farmers Unhappy With Russia Rejecting Their Produce

Fruits and vegetables producers from Turkey are concerned about the increasing cases of exports being sent back from Russia, with some claiming that Russian phytosanitary agency Rosselkhoznadzor regularly returns fruit to Turkey, Fresh Plaza reported.

On May 25, the watchdog returned 20 tons of Turkish strawberries and apricots, finding Californian flower thrips, an invasive insect pest, in them. In April, Rosselkhoznadzor returned 39.5 tons of tomatoes and 20.3 tons of strawberries, citing a similar reason. In March it returned 25 tons of tangerines because of a Mediterranean fruit fly infestation.

Turkish producers are calling the Russian authorities’ practices unreasonable.

“The fact that vegetables and fruits are returned to Turkey on the basis of their phytosanitary conditions, does not point at malicious intent. All this is routine procedure, in relation to all products supplied from abroad. Products that enter Russia must comply with all our phytosanitary requirements. When we register a violation of these requirements, we, naturally, do not allow products to enter the country,” a Russian official explained the situation to Еast-fruit.com.

Some Turkish suppliers report product inspections taking up to two weeks. In those cases, the exporters’ goods become unusable and remain unclaimed. In addition, manufacturers said that with respect to countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, there are no such stringent checks. At this time, the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture is discussing these issues with its Russian counterparts.