“The season runs from November to January and we grow several varieties, such as Red Merlin from the Redeva breeding program of Total Berry UK, while Fortuna and Elyana come from Ekland Marketing in the USA. These are for UK and European markets. Red Merlin only grows in Egypt and this is good for the UK. We hope to continue exporting till the end of March.”
Even though some farms and companies in Morocco, for instance, have Spanish investors to help them expand in adding new produce varieties, Nabat Wadi doesn’t rely on them. “This is a big company and we grow our strawberries in large areas, while our small Egyptian farmers grow strawberries in the Midian area. These farmers grow ten acres of strawberries on their farms,” Diab said.
Diab shared that it was 1985 when he started growing strawberries and porpagating them. He said that the the progress of the strawberry industry in Egypt has come to include variety mixes from Florida and California. For Nabat Wadi, other progress includes the following: potted plants with artificial chilling hours; early varieties and new test varieties in an experimental plot; growing strawberries in coir and grow bags with high density plantation; soil solarization; building greenhouses and IPM and biological control for plant protection.
“We have also developed biometrical controls. Growing strawberries has become very high-tech. We have high quality standards to grow strawberries for Europe. We get certificates to get the chance of competition growing more strawberries.”
Furthermore, France has different varieties and programs coming from Italy, the United States as well as Egypt. Diab said, “We compete with France in programs, industry, production, quality and characteristics. Our program is extremely good for the varieties that we have, growing them on two acres or three acres. So, we mix the varieties. We mix the yield. France has a different climate from what we have here in Egypt.”
The weather has been the biggest challenge for the Nabat Wadi. Next, he highlighted the greenhouses being used in the northern part of Egypt. He also mentioned the need for different strawberry varieties to compete with other strawberry-growing countries. And lastly, the need to have more high tunnels.
For more information:
Dr. Mahmoud Diab
Nabat Wadi Valley