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Russian greenhouses are not afraid of Turkish tomatoes Turkish tomatoes going to Russia from 1 November

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National producers are ready to compete with tomato distributors from Turkey. According to experts and market participants, the main advantages of domestic vegetables are its natural origin and eating qualities. Besides, tomatoes coming from North Caucasian regions can compete on price.

Investors, taking advantage of import, launched the construction of new greenhouses. They do not plan to quit the projects, but definitely, state support is required to get return on investment.

Russia imposed sanctions on Turkey products in November 2015. Since summer 2016 fruit import restrictions have been reducing, but Turkish tomatoes still have been banned.

Not plastic
One of the leading commercial greenhouses in Russia is Yuzhny Agrocombine in Karachay-Cherkessia. According to company’s personal data, it produces 7% of national vegetable output. Last year, a total of 46 tonnes of vegetables were harvested here; production growth amounted 23% if compared with the last year. Umar Uzdenov, Executive Director admits that the greenhouse complex strengthened its position, at the time when Turkish tomatoes were not marketed.

“Lifting Turkish tomatoes sanctions is the reduction of comfort zone. We are now forced to improve our competitive advantages and to find new ways of prime cost reduction”, says Mr Uzdenov.

Sergey Makarov, director of large greenhouse complex “Ovoschi Stavropolia” is sure that Turlish deliveries will not affect tomato production in Russia. We are beyond competition, we have ecologically clean vegetables, we do not use chemicals, thus having excellent eating qualities. Now the demand surpasses the supply, we concluded agreements with major retail chains, because we can ensure year-round deliveries”, said Mr Makarov.

Greenhouses in Kabardino-Balkaria are not afraid of Turkish tomatoes. According to the Head of Horticulture and Seed Production of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture Irina Balkarova, the republic accounts for small amount of vegetables, largest volumes are exported to other regions.

“The largest company here is Agro-Kom. It produces about 10k tonnes of vegetables. Is it enough, you think? We have excellent tomatoes”, said Irina Balkarova, “Besides, tomatoes from Turley are not so cheap: they have the same price as we have here. I mean tomatoes grown in personal farms”, added Irina Balkarova.

According to the consultant working in the sphere of greenhouse construction and development, director of Green Consult Ilia Ivanov, the main advantages of tomato producers in the regions of North Caucasus are lower price, better eating qualities and eco-friendliness. It will help to compete. “Regarding small complexes with the output of about 500 tonnes of tomatoes annually, I can say that they should make a shift towards domestic market within the North Caucasian Federal District. But still they do have possibility to enter large regions, such as Moscow and Moscow region”, the expert added.

According to the Head of Teplitsy Kubani Association, Finance Director of Ovoschi Krasnodarskogo Kraya” Alexey Konovalov, the price on domestic tomatoes will be 15-10% higher if compared with Turkish.

“Our tomatoes become mature in greenhouse. Turkish tomatoes must be harvested when they are not mature enough to ensure better delivery. While delivered, they must be treated with chemicals to ensure rapid maturation. First thing the consumer have to choose is whether he wants quality and higher price or cheaper price and risk”, said the expert.

That was also admitted by the Head of Rosselkhoznadzor Sergey Dankvert. According to him, vegetables delivered from Turkey can contain pesticides which cannot be detected. “We have checkpoints where we enlist the amount of tomatoes delivered. As for pesticides, the issue in not under control, it is not regulated”, said Mr Dankvert, “Previously, Rosselkhoznadzor oversaw it, but since 2011 this institution is not responsible for pesticide control.

Turkey is not an
obstacle for greenhouses
The investors of new greenhouse complexes are also not afraid of Turkish tomatoes. Ikrom Yadgarov, Director of Suvorovsky Agroholding project in the Tula region is sure that “50k tonnes of tomatoes that will be delivered won’t affect the domestic market”.

“Greenhouse construction project will be fully finalized by 2020. In 2018 we will launch the production of tomatoes, expected output: 4.1k tonnes annually”, said Mr Yadgarov. He also highlighted that several retail chains expressed interest in the purchase of tomatoes from Tula.

The second and the third stage of the large greenhouse complex will be commissioned in Novosibirsk in 2018. That was informed by Alexander Mantsurov, co-owner of Sibirsky Gigant trade holding and Sady Giganta greenhouse complex. “Siberia is far from Turkey. We have regions here to supply vegetables and fruit – Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan”, said Mr Mantsurov.

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