UAE: Business slows down after Ramadan

Fruit and vegetable business has been slow in Dubai after Ramadan, but things are expected to get back to normal in three weeks to a month’s time. Even though the market had been volatile since November last year to around mid May this year, traders are optimistic things will stabilize in the next few weeks.

Pan Fresh International, one of the key importers and distributors of fresh fruits and vegetables in the Middle East, plans to kick off importing from Europe in a month’s time, as soon as its current stocks sourced majorly from neighboring countries, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, run out.

“We expect the market to pick up again in a month’s time and that’s when we plan to start importing summer fruits from Europe. Already, South African oranges have started coming in. We expect massive business as Hajji is also coming. During this period around four to five million people are expected to travel to Saudi Arabia for the event so business will be good,” explains Ali Reza Arjomandi, a director at Pan Fresh International.

According to Ali Reza, one of the key elements Pan Fresh International looks at before importing is the quality of produce since their leading consumers are in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Dubai, countries where quality comes first. “We import all types of fruits from A-Z but quality comes first for us, also the volume of our imports depends on the season in Europe, we go by what is available but quality comes first, as the poorer the quality the lower the price, we also have to get what our customers want. Pan Fresh has been in this business for many decades so our customers know us very well as quality is guaranteed,” adds Ali Reza.

From Ali Reza’s point of view, the absence of proper regulation on the fresh produce business has been one of the reasons causing instability in the market. He said that the market is flooded by all types of traders, each year there are new entrants in the market but the turnover is as high as some of the people who venture into the business don’t have the capacity to sustain the it.

For instance, since November last year to May this year, over 200 companies were forced out of the market due to bankruptcy. "Banks lost approximately $6 to $7 billion as traders were unable to repay loans. This has been a difficult period for both small and large traders as fruits were also dumped into the market which really affected the local cost,” explains Ali Reza.

This year however, the fresh produce business will be low compared to last year as in countries such as Afghanistan produce went down by around 70%. As a result of this, Ali Reza says Pan Fresh International was forced to scale down its imports from Afghanistan by around 40%.

"The government isn’t to blame for the instability. All that we are going through is caused by suppliers who don’t do due diligence on who to supply to, if they can establish specific people to work with and limit the minimum quantity of order, then things will get better. Some of the new entrants don’t even do proper research on prices and all they do is destabilize the market and leave,” explains Ali Reza.
For more information:
Ali Reza Arjomandi
Pan Fresh
Tel: +971 4320 8885
Email: ;
Author: Yzza Ibrahim / Rose Wangui


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