With Russia not being an available market for the Polish apples, a lot of exporters are trying to get their produce into China. Egypt however, seems to be a viable option. The volumes shipped to Egypt are increasing every year and for one particular exporter, the Egyptian market is actually the most important one.
The Egyptian market seems to be picking up for the Polish apples, however for company SaraFruit it has been their main market for years. Mohamed Marawan, Managing Director for SaraFruit, claims it all started 4 years ago with the fair called Food Africa: “We as a company honestly opened the doors to the Egyptian market. We saw its potential and have been exporting there ever since. We even had talks with the Egyptian minister of Agriculture to make sure our apples would be accepted there. About 2 years ago the volumes started really increasing, and we currently send off about 20 containers of Polish apples every week.”
It seems that for Egyptians, the real interest lies with cheap apples, which makes it no surprise that Idared is the most popular variety for them: “We export massive amounts of Idared to Egypt, however they are also interested in our Golden varieties. Gala Must is also picking up, however this apple has a higher price, so the volumes are significantly less. The price has not been effected by their interest, however it is correct that the price for industrial apples has increased. Therefor the price of first class apples has also risen slightly. However for our Egyptian market, the price has stayed just about the same,” Marawan says.
Russia used to be the top market for Polish apples, but Marawan can see a future where Egypt will be the key market for all Polish apple exporters: “Since we opened the very big door to Egypt, the potential is unlimited. It is already suggested that Italy has lost the market in Egypt, as they simply can’t compete with the price. Now that other Polish exporters are testing the waters in Egypt, this problem will only increase for them.”
Other Polish growers are not as keen for the market just yet though, as they fear problems with the payment. “Yes, with Egypt one has to be very careful when it comes to payment. Because of the agreement that containers are only released once the buyers have put through their payment with the banks, you would think all is safe,” Marawan explains. “However due to fluctuating currency issues, the price that is agreed upon when sending the shipment could change once the produce arrives. The Egyptian Pound can easily weaken in respect to the Euro, and some importers will not accept the price they actually have pay to release the container. Due to our great contacts, we have never had issues in regards to payments. So any Polish exporter that has doubts about sending their shipment can always get in touch with us, for advice and help. As we are a Polish company, we’re more than happy to help break this market wide open!”