Price of Turkish fruits and vegetables plummets as Russia, Ukraine exports collapse
The price of Turkish fruits and vegetables have fallen by up to 50 percent domestically, as exports to Russia and Ukraine dry up amid Moscow’s invasion.
Tomatoes and courgettes, among the top vegetable exports of Turkey, have halved in price over the last week; while the cost of cucumbers and eggplants has decreased by more than 50 percent.
The saturation of Turkey’s domestic market comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attempts to tow a delicate diplomatic line between supporting Ukrainian resistance and maintaining ties with trading partner Moscow.
"Due to the war, the trucks [containing fruits and vegetables] remained on the roads. The prices at the manufacturer fell by half between February 28 and March 1," said sector representatives quoted by Daily Sabah, a Turkish pro-government newspaper.
Experts warned that if the conflict continued and no new export routes were open, prices would carry on dropping and "may exceed 50 percent with the warming of the weather".
Russia is the lead importer of Turkish fruits and vegetables, with trade of fresh produce exceeding $1 billion last year according to data from the Mediterranean Exporters Association.
Ukraine is the fourth-largest importer of Turkish produce, with exports from Ankara worth around $217 million in 2021.
Turkey's economy is also reeling from record-high inflation, which hit a two-decade high of over 50 percent on Thursday.
Given Ankara’s economic woes and its close ties to Kyiv and Moscow, NATO member Turkey has tried to forge a third path between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
While taking steps to challenge Moscow, it has not joined Western sanctions or closed its airspace to Russia. Instead, Turkey said it wants to focus on securing peace and offered itself a mediator.