For Egyptian company Stars of Export the season is in full swing. The company cares a great deal about its own community, as most of the garlic is handled by women from the village the company is based in. Business is good, but they don’t lack ambition and are aiming for an even stronger foothold in Europe.
The company Stars of Export is a family business in Egypt, explains May Yassin, export manager for the company: “Our father established the company in 1996, which shows our experience in this field. We are the second generation, as we still follow our father’s instructions, although we add a flavor of modern thinking to the business. We cultivate, harvest, sort, prep and package the garlic manually. This work is done by the great women from our own village, that we are very proud of.”
The fact everything is done by hand does increase the time the garlic is handled, but according to to Yassin the result is worth it: “Our product had a top ranking in the European market. Our prices were slightly higher than the Mexican garlic, yet our clients still preferred our product over the garlic from Mexico. The lion’s share of the garlic we export is cultivated by our company, however there are some young independent farmers from the village that will sell their garlic to us for export. Villages around us do the same thing, as selling it to us gets them a better price than when they would sell it locally.” Yassin explains. “This season we expect that the cultivated areas are reduced by 30 per cent, which means that the price of the garlic won’t be as cheap as previous years.”
The garlic of Stars of Export mostly finds its way into Europe according to Yassin: “Our garlic is mostly exported to Holland, but we also export to Germany, Poland, Australia and France. The French market is one we would like to grow in though, so that is a goal for the future. We would also like to enter the UK with our garlic. Currently we export around 700 tons of garlic every year and we are steadily growing as a company. We believe in quality and exporting a product of quality takes both time and experience. For our dry purple garlic it means we do our contracting about two months before delivery is due, to ensure we can supply the produce that our clients have come to expect from us.”