Customs officials at the Habur Border Gate stopped Turkish mandarins destined for Iraq, allegedly due to their green color. 80-90 trucks of citrus were sent back and Yuregir Chamber of Agriculture's Chairman Mehmet, Akin Dogan, has asked the Ministry of Trade for a solution.
Producers in Yuregir, Adana, had started to harvest the early varieties Eary-N, Okitsu Wase and Miho Wase mandarins that are mainly exported to Iraq, then to Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe. This year, the Iraqis asked for mandarins that are green and leafy, said Chairman Dogan. Therefore, traders in the district sent 90 trucks of mandarins to the Habur Border Gate. However, Customs officials did not let mandarins through, allegedly due the fact that they were not yellow enough.
Dogan said: "Currently, the Iraqi market asks for our product to be green and leafy. Why is there no problem on the Iraqi side, but on this side? At least 80 to 90 trucks were sent back. It is in favor of our farmers and traders that mandarins are exported green and leafy. Exporting one ton of products cost 600 dinars, which is 2 thousand 800 Turkish Lira (438 Euro). Excluding other costs, our traders earn 1 thousand 700 Turkish Lira (265 Euro). Our farmers will be affected by this."
"Prices have decreased"
Dogan said that the mandarins that are sent back from the border have also affected the prices and continued: "Our mandarins cost 0,7 to 0,9 Turkish Lira (0,11 to 0,14) per kilo in the gardens. If these mandarins could enter the Iraqi market, the prices would be above 1 Turkish Lira (0,16 Euro). Both yellow and green mandarins that we export to Iraq cost the same. Customs belong to the Ministry of Trade and we expect this problem to be solved immediately. Some of the mandarins that are sent back are now consumed domestically and some of them are in the facilities to yellow before they are exported again. While we were expecting an increase in prices, they have decreased. Traders also wait before they purchase mandarins. We want to export our products again as soon as the problems at the border are solved."