Turkey Citrus

Turkey is Russia's top supplier of citrus imports, accounting for the bulk of lemon supplies

Russia will ban imports of fruit, vegetables and other agricultural products from Turkey, according to reports in the Russian media.

The new measures against Turkey were confirmed at a meeting chaired by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday, Russian news agencies reported.

Moscow may however delay the introduction of the food import restrictions for 'several weeks' to ease inflationary pressure, said deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich. He explained that the deferral would give Russian firms time to find alternative suppliers and curb price rises.

The embargo comes in response to the shooting down of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border earlier this month.

Moscow’s initial reaction to the incident was furious and widespread, from bans on Russian tourists visiting Turkey to stopping Turkish workers from entering Russia. The measures announced so far are not as punitive as first promised by some officials, and the embargo does not include other goods such as clothes and industrial products. However, Medvedev told local media agencies the list of penalties could be expanded later.

Russia's ban on Turkish produce imports looks set to hit Turkey's fresh fruit and vegetable growers and exporters hard, but the impact is expected to be far-reaching for the global produce trade.

Turkey ranks as Russia’s second-largest supplier of fresh fruit imports overall after Ecuador, which mostly supplies bananas.

Russia’s total fresh fruit imports were worth some US$3.8bn in 2014/15, down 32 per cent on the previous year, according to analysis from ITC Comtrade and Fresh Intelligence Consulting. Turkey shipped US$765m-worth of fresh fruit, accounting for 20 per cent of the overall fruit import market.

Turkey is the leading supplier of citrus and grapes to Russia. In 2014/15, citrus represented 49 per cent and grapes made up 24 per cent of Turkey’s fresh fruit exports to Russia by value.

Turkey is also a major supplier of vegetables to Russia, accounting for an estimated 20 per cent of the country’s vegetable supply.

Around 1,250 Turkish trucks are already stacked up along Russia’s southern border, Interfax reported.