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Russian farmers want Turkey ban on Turkish tomatoes to last 3 more years

Currently nearly 40-50% of tomatoes and 80% of cucumbers sold in Russia are domestically grown
Dmitry Rogulin/TASS
Dmitry Rogulin/TASS

MOSCOW, April 19. /TASS/. Russian agricultural producers need the ban on the import of Turkish tomatoes to remain in place for three more years to gain dominance on the Russian market, the president of the Russian Union of Vegetable Producers told TASS.

"By 2020, we will de-facto dominate our own market of tomatoes and cucumbers. As far as cucumbers are concerned, we have already gained dominance on the market," Sergei Korolyov said. "With regard to tomatoes, we need about three years to ensure the dominant position, namely to occupy 80-90% of the market."

According to Korolyov’s estimates, nearly 40-50% of tomatoes and 80% of cucumbers sold in Russia are domestically produced. The figure stood at 18% before Russia imposed the embargo.

"The investments that had been made allow us to say that by 2020 we will substitute nearly all imports of greenhouse vegetables," he said, adding that Russia invested over 150 billion rubles (over $2.6 billion) in agricultural projects in the past four years. Those projects need eight years to come to fruition.

Russia still bans supplies of tomatoes and cucumbers from Turkey citing the need to protect national production of those vegetables.

Last month, Turkey decided to introduce duties on grain supplies from Russia following the request of local exporters of agricultural products. In particular, the exporters were not satisfied with the Russian restrictions on imports of tomatoes and some other Turkish agricultural products.

Earlier this year, the Russian government lifted the ban on exports of onions, cauliflower, broccoli and carnations from Turkey. In October 2016, Russia partially lifted the ban on Turkish agricultural products and allowed import of certain types of fruits.