The Egyptian grape season has been in full swing and even the late varieties are finding their way to various markets. The season started a bit late and the weather did bring some challenges to the season.
For Ghabbour Farms (GB Farms), the grape season is an important one. Overall the Egyptian grape season was a satisfying one, says Dr. Esraa Assaf, who is export manager for GB Farms. “Our season was pretty good, especially in terms of demand and prices in the first phase of the season. The weather caused the start of the grape season to be delayed by ten days compared to last year, this caused the Egyptian white grape shipments to arrive right when the Indian grapes were nearly all depleted from inventory, this was in the weeks 22/23.”
Due to the Feast Holiday in Egypt, the packing of grapes was interrupted during these weeks. Week 24 saw a big increase in quantities however, causing the season to be in full throttle from that point on. “Regarding red seedless grapes, and specifically Egyptian Flame, the market was strong with good demand for the first few weeks and the first arrivals to EU were in week 24. However, the weather did give us challenges, as it did affect color development in the grapes.” Dr. Assaf explains.
The weather wasn’t the only factor determined to make the Egyptian season harder than it needed to be. Egypt had some trouble with available containers for shipping the produce. “Egyptian ports faced some issues in regards to availability of containers as well as booking on the vessels. These challenges have created unexpected reflection on the market regarding the availability of the product.
Repeating delays caused some supply shortages,” says Dr. Assaf. “These shortages caused some importers and distributors to request air freight shipments at much higher cost in order to commit to supermarkets programs. This was especially the case with early red varieties this season, causing strong demand and maintaining a high price. It’s fair to say that exporters and importers have faced challenges this season to be committed to their retail programs.”
GB Farms is aiming to ship around 200 containers of grapes during the season. “We export various grape varieties of white, red and black to the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Sweden, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia and Mauritius. Naturally we’re looking to further develop these markets and find our way to the United States and Canada by next year. These markets represent great potential for Egyptian grapes.” Dr. Assaf concludes.
Ghabbour Farms will be attending Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong. You can find them in Hall 3, stand Q01.