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Rising exports of Egyptian pomegranates to Asian markets

Egypt is going to have a promising season for pomegranates. The next season is set to start from the middle of September onwards. “We’ve had very hot weather in the last couple of months. This had some negative effects on the fruit, like sunburns, but in general these effects were minor. The overall quality is going to be better than last year. We’re going to produce about 5.000 tons,” explains Khaled Mohamad of the Egyptian grower and exporter AGreen.

The main focus of AGreen lies with the production and export of citrus. As of recently, the company has started investing in the production of lemons and tangerines. Apart from citrus, the company has also been branching out into pomegranates in the last couple of years. The variety of pomegranates that AGreen produces is the American red variety Wonderful, which will be sent to markets like Malaysia, Singapore, Russia, Ukraine and some European countries.

“We’ve been exporting to the Far Eastern countries for three years. Market response has been positive. Our customers in Malaysia and Singapore are willing to pay good prices for big sizes and premium quality, which we can provide with our Wonderful variety,” explains Khaled.

AGreen grows its pomegranates in the same area as the company produces citrus, which is in the north of Egypt. Khaled admits that the competition from other Egyptian exporters is growing, though his company does have a major advantage. “Apart from being exporters, we’re also growers. We’re able to fully control the quality of our produce and select only the best types of fruit.”

According to Khaled, the main challenge on the Asian market for pomegranates is the competition from other supplying countries, like India. The pomegranate season of India coincides with the one in Egypt. “Asian consumers are familiar with Indian pomegranates. We’re still penetrating the market, but it’s a slow process. We need to make Asian consumers more familiar with Egyptian produce and we need to promote our fruit to more Asian countries.

China doesn’t really factor as a market for pomegranates. “The Chinese market isn’t that attractive, right now. We do not have the necessary phytosanitary protocol set up yet, though we do have a signed protocol with China for the export of grapes and citrus. But other than that, China pretty much has its own local production of pomegranates, so this market wouldn’t be interesting for us anyway.”

Egyptian fresh fruit and vegetables are getting more well known in Far East Asian countries. Due to that rise in interest, export is increasing. The Egyptian government tries to capitalize on this by somehow improving the reputation of Egyptian fruit and vegetables. In order to do so, the government works on the signing of protocols with new markets, provides training for farmers and exporters and works on the implementation of new agricultural technologies.

Though this should lead to both better quality and an improved reputation for Egyptian produce, some Egyptian companies are sceptical of the strict legislation that is now being imposed by the government. Khaled however disagrees. “In the end, the new policy of the Egyptian government is in our best interest. In the long term it will be better for Egyptian agriculture if our produce improves on quality and reputation,” says Khaled in conclusion.

AGreen will be present at Asia Fruit Logistica, which is being held in September in Hong Kong, Hall 3C, Stand number U01-2.

For more information:
Khaled Mohamad
Green Egypt for Agricultural Investment Co. (Agreen)
Tel: +2015350001
Mob: +201025911660
Fax: +2015350003
Email: k.mohamad@agreen-co.com

Publication date: 8/31/2017
Author: Yzza Ibrahim
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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