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Rising demand for Egyptian garlic in Europe
“It has been a really big season for us,” says Yassin Ahmed. “Some new markets have opened up for our dried and fresh garlic. These new markets usually have garlic through the Netherlands, which has always been a country through which a lot of garlic is sold to the rest of Europe. But now importers seem to have realized it’s cheaper to buy garlic directly from Egypt.”
“This big demand of dried garlic has actually made this season a bit difficult. It’s hard to come by garlic that fits the European demands for quality. We actually weren’t quite prepared for demand to become this big. The main reason is that Chinese garlic has become too expensive. European importers are searching for alternatives, like our Egyptian garlic.”
Furthermore, when other competing countries like Spain and Mexico commence with their season, there will be more taxes in importing garlic outside Europe which will result in an uncompetitive price for the Egyptian garlic.
"The rise in demand hasn’t given way to increased competition. The market is large. There is room for everybody. Many Egyptian exporters focus on one specific market. Each market has its own unique characteristics, which means that one company may focus on Western Europe, while another may work with Russia or the Middle-East.”
“However, the Australian market has been difficult for us. There has been a ban put on transport by plane. We were forced to send our garlic by sea, which meant it took a whole 25 days to get there. We were aiming to export over 130 tons to Australia, but instead we only managed to send about 55 tot 60 tons. A lot of our customers switched over to importing garlic from Mexico.”
In this season, Stars of Export has a volume of about 600 tons of garlic. About 150 tons had to be sourced from other suppliers. However, a large part of this isn’t meant to be sent to the European market due to its high standards with regards to quality. The amount of garlic that is of lesser quality ends up on the domestic market or on second class markets like Russia and Middle-Eastern countries. While Egypt does import some Chinese garlic, the prices of it aren’t that compelling at €3.10 per kilo. Egyptian garlic right now costs somewhere between €2 to €2.40 per kilo.
The main challenge with regards to the current high demand is getting hold of garlic that is fit for export. “This week more than 500 tons of garlic was rejected. When we purchase extra garlic from suppliers, we must buy the whole batch that they’re offering us. We’re supposed to take it all. This means that not all of the garlic is good enough for us to send to our customers. Say we buy about 100 tons, then usually 20% to 30% will be good enough for Europe. We deal with this by being critical of the product. We check its quality, color and size. If it’s okay, we buy it. If not, then not. We need to refuse a lot of garlic, because in the end we don’t want to lose good customers due to a bad shipment,” concludes Yassin Ahmed.
For more information:
Stars Of Export (Egypt)
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