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ANKARA, August 16 /ITAR-TASS/. Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci said on Friday that Turkey and Russia had great potential for developing trade in food and agricultural products. “Turkey is a major supplier of food and agricultural produce to Russia. It is ready to increase its food exports to Russia if necessary,” the minister said in an interview with Itar-Tass.
He noted that Turkey had exported 1.18 billion U.S. dollars worth of agricultural products to Russia in 2013. The bulk of it was made up of fruit and vegetables (877 million dollars). Agricultural exports to Russia were valued at 409 million dollars in 2014.
Zeybekci said Turkey’s global exports of agricultural products were valued at 17 billion dollars in 2013 of which fresh fruit and vegetables accounted for 2.3 billion dollars.
Turkish agricultural exports Russia accounted for 6.9% last year, but the two countries have great potential for developing trade in agricultural products.
The Turkish minister said that in conditions of reciprocal Russia-EU sanctions Russian and Turkish agencies would work hard to ensure access to sufficient amounts of qualitative and low-cost food products for the Russians.
Meanwhile, Sergei Dankvert, the head of the Russian agricultural watchdog (Rosselkhoznadzor), said a day earlier on Thursday that Turkey wanted to supply agricultural products to Crimea.
“We have done a good job in searching for suppliers in Turkey given that we have a piece of land located right opposite Turkey and it should be provided with food,” Dankvert said at a teleconference on the situation in the food market held under the chairmanship of Vice-Premier Arkady Dvorkovich.
A Rosselkhoznadzor delegation has recently visited Ankara where an agreement was reached to increase the number of food suppliers to Russia.
Rosselkhoznadzor or the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phyto-Sanitary Control has held talks with 16 countries with an aim to ensure the Russian food market with alternative supply sources, Dankvert said.
The list of countries included Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritius, Mozambique and China.