The quality of Egyptian grapes has come a long way, thanks to investments in the post-harvest process. With the harvest season having started in May, everything is going according to plan. For one exporter, this will be the first season they export their grapes to Canada.
According to Reham Kamal, international marketing and export manager for Mazeed Produce, the expectation for the Egyptian grapes are positive: “The grape season has had a great start so far, we’re very satisfied with the quality of the produce as well. There have been some issues, as a heatwave caused some delay in loading, in the last week before harvest. Combined with the public’s Eid holidays should push our usual schedule by about a week. We’re experiencing a strong demand from Europe, which is the usual market for the Egyptian grapes. This season we are working with various local partners to ship the Mazeed grapes to Canada for the first time!”
Kamal feels one of the selling points of the Egyptian grapes is the shelf life: “We believe Egyptian grapes have had a perfect growing season and thus we expect a good volume compared to last year. Our Mazeed grapes will stand out in terms of sweetness and shelf life thanks to our enhanced on-farm fast-cooling facilities, keeping the bunches at 16 degrees during the post-harvest process until they are packed and pre-cooled to zero in the packhouse. This allows for a much better looking bunch of grapes, with green stems lasting all through the shelf life. We start with our Flame and Sugarone seedless varieties during June. And our Red Globe seeded variety will come up during July.” She explains.
Egyptian grape exporters have been investing a lot of money in the post-harvest process. Kamal states these investments can have a large impact on the long term: “Our harvest window between late May to the end of June is what gives the Egyptian grapes a better market opportunity overall. However, quality of Egyptian grapes has been improving thanks to major investments in the post-harvest technology. In the future these investments may allow the Egyptian grapes to stay longer in the market, even while the Italian and Spanish grapes season are on the market, providing Egypt a longer sales window. When it comes to the current state of logistics, we see better scheduling from the usual shipping lines serving the European route, but we still find rates to North America less frequent and they are certainly more expensive.” she concludes.