The onion shortages in Europe will lead to opportunities for other regions to fill in the gap. One exporter from Egypt is hoping to capitalize on the shortage, by making their onions available to the Netherlands. Shortages and demand could turn this season into a real moneymaker.
Due to the very hot summer last year, the European onion shortage was one to be expected. For Egyptian exporter Nile Green, this shortage was a rare opportunity to expand their business into Europe. Mohamed Shehata, Operations Manager Europe for Nile Green thinks it’ll be a good season: “I expect the demand for onions to be very high this season, due to the shortage of production in the European market. This was the result of high temperatures during the summer, which has now lead to shortages, as indicated by the rising prices in the local markets.”
According to Shehata the most important market for Nile Green will be the Netherlands. “We are targeting the Netherlands mainly, as they are the main distributor to Scandinavians countries and other European countries. It’s important to not go into a tunnel-vision mode, so we also look for opportunities in the United Kingdom and Germany. The Netherlands is so important as they normally only work with Dutch and European onions. The fact they are now open to the idea of importing onions from Egypt could provide us with a few additional clients, thanks to the shortage in their local production.”
Nile Green isn’t satisfied just yet though, as the company is still trying to reach other new markets, says Shehata: “We have been in Belgium and Netherlands for the last period networking and preparing for the coming seasons. Next on the list would be to explore Scandinavian countries, but a little more effort into reaching Germany and the United Kingdom. Eastern Europe is also a potential market for us. We plan to reach these new markets by networking, collecting data, contacting clients and trying to set up meetings to explore business opportunities together.”
As for the season itself, Nile Green expects an increase of yield if the weather plays nice: “We cultivate our onions on about 300 acres of land, in the North of Egypt. The expectations are that we will have about 9000 tons ready for export. Better weather conditions would increase our yield by about 5 to 6 per cent, but we’d also like to increase the cultivated area at some point,” Shehata explains. “But we do have other goals, we hope to have a solid network and new partners in the Netherlands. It would also be good to expand our network in Europe in general. Finally, we’re going to cultivate fresh strawberries. We’re preparing 1000 tons of fresh premium A1 of the fruit, and will have 2100 tons of IQF froze strawberries, which are cultivated on an area of 250 acres.”