Nature Abhors a Vacuum – Turkish Products to be Replaced with Other Countries’
The Russian Ministry of Agriculture is preparing proposals to restrict supplies of food from Turkey. The Minister Alexandr Tkachev did not rule out a possible ban on imports of mainly fruits and vegetables. Consumers will not be affected, according to the Minister.
Russia has strengthened control of products which are imported from Turkey. Journalists are already talking about a possible food embargo. How will the ban tell on sellers and buyers? It was hard to find products with a Turkish label at the largest commodity trade platform in Moscow.
We have lemons and pomegranates from Turkey.
It turned out to be a drop in a bucket. Russian counters won’t be left empty, if products from the shores of the Bosporus disappear from the domestic market. Moreover, it seems that no one will notice this.
"The share of fruits and vegetables from Turkey is about two percent. These are apples, grapes, sour cherries, sweet cherries, peaches, greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and zucchinis" , said Sergey Zhuravlev, Deputy Head of the Rental Department at FOOD CITY.
In 2014, Ankara supplied Russia with food worth more than $1.5 billion – a little more than four percent of the total domestic food imports. According to implementers, these dribs and drabs are easy to replace. A seller with an unusual name – Komandor – offers to follow his example. The products on his counter are mainly from Uzbekistan and his fatherland, Azerbaijan. He says they sure beat Turkish ones.
"They are nice to serve. They are nice to treat someone to. They’re just delicious. There’s nothing Turkish, but pomegranates - good, but sour" , the seller Komandor Ayvazovskiy showed his goods.
Besides the CIS countries, Israeli grapes can successfully replace Turkish ones, for example. Iranian peaches are just as good. Algeria will supply oranges and grapefruits. Russian producers are ready to expand volumes for some items too.
"Russia has excellent apples from Krasnodar Krai. Greenhouse tomatoes can be replaced by Russian regions – Krasnodar and Rostov-on-Don" , added Sergey Zhuravlev, Deputy Head of the Rental Department at FOOD CITY.
As for Turkish fish, it is not sold in this agricultural cluster. They have long preferred domestic fish. However, you can rarely find chilled sea bass and gilt-head bream of Bosporus origin in Russian stores and markets. The Federal Agency for Fishery say it’s not a big deal if they float away.
"The share is ultimately negligible – less than three percent. We can’t say that this could affect the Russian market. There are other countries that can supply. Sea bass and gilt-headed bream can be brought from Tunisia or Morocco. We can involve the more distant countries as well – Chile, for example," believes Ilya Shestakov, Head of the Federal Agency for Fishery.
The Ministry of Agriculture is optimistic too. The Minister Alexander Tkachev says that there won’t be any deficit. Other countries are fighting for the Russian market.
"We will just do the phase-out, as we’ve done it with the European Union. Other countries are waiting in line to the Russian market. Nature abhors a vacuum, so Russians won’t notice a thing by the coming year," promised Alexandr Tkachev, the Minister of Agriculture of Russia.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, there is no reason to regret about Turkish products. Products from those shores of the Black Sea are often of dubious quality – fifteen percent do not meet domestic standards.