The Egyptian grape season might be over, but the pomegranate season is coming up quite soon. One Egyptian exporter speaks about the challenges of the past grape season, which had a great start thanks to an early harvest. And despite the pomegranate season being 70 days away, orders for the Wonderful variety have already been coming in for over a month.
According to May Salem, general manager for the Egyptian grape and pomegranate exporter FinBi, they experienced a head-start with their grape season, thanks to an early harvest: “We started early with our grapes this season, it began on May 17, 2020 and we finished both our Flame and Superior Sugraone in the second week of June. The week before our Eid, a religious holiday, was fantastic and the prices were high. After the holidays, the demand was slow and exporters required very high specifications for the Flame grapes. The Sugraone market was slow as well, because the Prime Seedless variety was still abundant. Our farm did have an edge thanks to the early harvest and the low number of pesticides in the samples, there were only three, and the residue levels were low as well.”
The Egyptian grape season did come with a set of challenges, as the world was still full-on dealing with the pandemic. “Overall, it was not an easy season for the Egyptian grapes despite the fact that total Egypt’s exported volume of grapes is sizable exceeding 110 thousands ton this year. As a company we have exported over 600 tons of Flame and Superior. For us it was difficult to have a program for the season or to get orders early on. Our European clients approached us in May, right before harvest. We depended on our Egyptian partners and exporters to export our produce, which was successful. All producers were worried because of the corona virus and its effect on the demand, but we managed to work through the curfews and precautionary measures.” Salem explains.
With the grape season behind them, the focus for FinBi is now full on pomegranates. Although the season is still over two months away, Salem states they’ve been receiving orders for the pomegranates for over a month: “We expect the pomegranate season to do well. Our Wonderful variety is still 70 days away, but we have been getting orders for them for a month now. The weather hasn’t been bad, the first generation of pomegranates could have been better, but overall we expect 60% of our fruits to be over 350 grams and the harvest to be earlier this year. We also expect volumes to increase as the Wonderful variety trees are reaching maturity now. They carry more fruit and we have covered over 720,000 fruits in our farm this year.”
The main markets for their pomegranates are found in European countries, but this year the exporter is also aiming for a foothold in the Canadian market: “For pomegranates our main markets are found in Germany, Holland and Canada. Canada is a new market for us, but there is a good opportunity for pomegranates there, as the pomegranate has a long shelf life. The third generation of the fruits could be smaller in size, however there are definitely markets that will use these fruits for dips, deseeding and other purposes.” Salem concludes.