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Indian ban on export of onions brings opportunities to Egypt

With India placing a ban on all onion exports there are suddenly some lucrative opportunities for Egyptian exporters to fill the gap. The ban was put in place due to the onion prices in India increasing into the ‘unaffordable bracket’. It’s created an alternative market for Egyptian exporters that would normally supply Europe.

Onions are one of the main products that Egyptian exporter MMA Fresh Produce trade in. According to Mostafa Adel, the International Sales Manager for MMA, the season suddenly switched gears when the news of the Indian export ban reached Egypt. “We’re pushing to sell more onions this season. Market has been very good for Egyptian onions, with a major opportunity presenting itself this past weekend. India has banned the export of onions, as the prices for onions rose to a 4 year-high. This means Egypt has to be ready to pick up the slack, by both supplying India with more onions as their shortages grow, but also Bangladesh and other markets in the Far East.”

Although the new opportunity looks like a gift, it does bring its very own set of challenges for Egyptian onion traders. “It puts us in a difficult position, as we need to increase our volumes on a short term. Doing this after the season has started, or even in the middle of the season, is very difficult,” Adel explains. “Many onion growers in Egypt already have established contracts to supply exporters. It’s our goal to be able to find more suppliers, so we can grab this opportunity firmly and take full advantage. It would be great to increase our export volumes by 25 to 30 per cent. This is the number that Egypt is trying to increase its onion cultivation with, so it makes sense for us to keep up with that number.”

In terms of sizes of the onions, the Egyptians have a wide range available. “There’s slightly less volumes of the smallest sizes available, but we have more than enough volumes of the other sizes available. For us it’s important to export these onions as fast as we can, as the orange season starts between mid-November and the start of December. After this point we will shift our focus to all of the citrus produce.” Adel stated.

“I’d like to emphasize that although this year the Egyptian sights have been set on India and the Far East, we normally export quite some volume towards European countries. As soon as the seasons in the Netherlands and Spain come to an end, we will start exporting to Europe again. However, due to the rising demand in India and Bangladesh there will be a price increase. Unfortunately that’s how it works with supply and demand. That being said, we are confident we can keep exporting at a satisfying price for all involved.” Adel concluded.

For more information:
Mostafa Adel
MMA Fresh Produce
Tel: +20 114 271 7700

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