Russia's Turkish ban leads to citrus imports from Morocco -

Russia's Turkish ban leads to citrus imports from Morocco

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Russia's Turkish ban leads to citrus imports from Morocco

While Turkish citrus producers are feeling the pinch of the Russian import ban, one St. Petersburg-based fresh fruit supplier has turned to Morocco to fill the void.

Russian importer Friend Fruits CEO Udzhar Mamedov tells although he’ is managing to get consistent quantity, the quality is not quite as good.

"“Since the embargo on Turkish citrus at the beginning of the year, we have had to find alternative sources and so far we’ have been importing from Morocco,"” Mamedov says.

"“It fills the gap, and although the quality is still good, it is not as good compared with Turkish citrus which was always of a very high standard.

"“Turkey has always been an excellent source for citrus and it was a loss when the embargo first hit because it meant we had to find somewhere else to get the type of volumes we were used to importing.”"

Russia and Turkey have been locked in a bitter dispute since the downing of a Russian jet on the Syrian border last November.

Afterwards the political row rapidly escalated with President Vladimir Putin announcing a series of trade restrictions to take effect from Jan. 1, 2016.

The sanctions are hitting fresh produce sectors in Turkey particularly hard, especially in the citrus category, while creating an importing headache on the Russian side.

"“We are supplying the Moroccan citrus into some of the major Russian supermarkets and hypermarkets and getting some fairly good quantities into these retailers.

"“I think the supply will last until around April when we will move onto other categories.”"

Friend Fruits operations include four warehouses and several branches based around the country with plans to expand into Morocco later this year.

"“I think it [the ban] will last a very long time and the situation certainly will not change any time soon. We will continue to source from elsewhere for the foreseeable future.”"

Moroccan citrus supplies

Meanwhile, also spoke with sales and marketing director Fatiha Charrat, from grower-exporter Delassus, one of Morocco'’s leading citrus suppliers.

Initially the company was optimistic when the Russia-Turkey ban was first mooted, keen to fill the citrus void from Turkey. But the depreciating value of the U.S. dollar against the ruble has put pay to any real gains.

"“When you hear that there is a ban you think this will be good news,”" Charrat tells

"“In reality there is another problem and that is the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and ruble, where the ruble is suffering from severe devaluation.

“"From October (2015) until now, it lost 40% of the value of the U.S. dollar. As Morocco sells to Russia in dollars, the situation is not as good as it seems to be.”

She adds that even though Russia remains the main market for Delassus, Moroccan volume continues to be stable and has not increased. 

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