Russian Shock to Agriculture in Muğla
Russian embargo on Turkish agricultural products had an overwhelming effect in Fethiye and Ortaca Districts exporting tomato, pomegranate and citrus fruits to Russia.
Russian embargo on Turkish agricultural products had an overwhelming effect in Fethiye and Ortaca Districts exporting tomato, pomegranate and citrus fruits to Russia. Farmers and sellers state that they have a marketing problem despite the decrease in harvests this year and turned towards domestic market. The price of tomato, which was between 1.07 and 2.10 TL before the crisis, is currently between 50 cents and 1 TL.
Farmers in Fethiye and Ortaca have lost the Russian market after the downing of Russian warplane and their hopes turned towards the domestic market and Iraq. Bülent Karakuş, Chairman of Muğla Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, “We export most of raw vegetables and fruits to Russia. Russia decided not to accept our products. Our trucks are being kept waiting. The situation does not appear to be resolved within short time. There must be compensation.”
SALES ARE LOW IN HARVESTS AS WELL
Salim Çöllü, Chairman of Ortaca Chamber of Agriculture, said they had problems due to devaluation in Russia last year and pointed out: “We are below the last year’s harvests. The harvest of lemon was 40 thousand tons last year while it is 10 thousand tons this year. Pomegranate decreased from 40 thousand to 20 thousand tons and tomato remained below 50 thousand tons while 60 thousand tons of tomatoes had been harvested last year. We still have problems in marketing despite all this. Products are kept in storages. We hope the crisis with Russia will be resolved soon. When the exportation stops, domestic market suffers the most and it affects everyone as a chain reaction. 57 thousand tons of agricultural products had been exported from Ortaca last year but we could only reach 36 thousand tons in 11 months this year.”
DAILY LOSS IS 1 MILLION TL
Atabey Akgün, Director of Fethiye Raw Vegetable and Fruit Commissioners, said, they were sending 30 trucks of fruits and vegetables from Fethiye to Russia before the crisis. Ahmet Yıldırım, Manager of Karaali Firm, said, “Russia closed doors and exportation has finished. All the exporters have closed business. Exportation business is over. We were sending 30 trucks to Russia in a day. Our daily loss is 1 million TL.”
DROP IN PRICES
Habil Doğan, a commissioner for domestic and foreign market in Muğla, explained the products which were sent to Russia last were being kept waiting in the customs and added, “We have turned towards domestic market and Iraq. We expect authorities to resolve these problems. Most of our tomatoes, citrus fruits and vegetables go to Russian market. 90 % of tomatoes being planted and exported in Fethiye are sent to Russia. Russian market is vital for us. A kilogram of tomato which we were exporting before the crisis was between 1.07-2.10 Turkish Lira. The prices are between 50 cents and 1 TL now. We believe the prices will go back to normal when the problems are solved between Russia and Turkey.”
WE CANNOT BEAR THE COSTS
Farmer Bayram Çatar said first quality tomatoes which should have been sent to Russia were exported to domestic market and Iraq and it did not cover the expenses of the products. Çatar said, “Politicians should resolve these problems as soon as possible. The crisis with Russia should be finished. We will have to find a new market unless the crisis is solved.”