The Egyptian spring onion season has been underway for about a month now, slightly earlier than normal. As demand for the onions has increased over the past years, so has production. Although prices are stable for the most part, there are periods where a shortage can occur over the season.
So far, it’s still early days for the Egyptian spring onion season, says Nora Mohamed, Senior commercial sales for Egyptian exporter Delta Agriculture Development. “We usually start the spring onion season from October till June, but this season we started harvest a little earlier, from mid-September, as we expected there would be an early demand on the market. We grow our onions on a total of 2200 acres at our farms, located in Ismailia Desert Road & Alexandria Desert Road. Spring onions are becoming increasingly popular. Consumers are also becoming aware of the health properties of spring onions. This has led to an increase in total demand, although spring onions have already matured as a product and demand has been steady for years.”
Weather for the current season has been relatively good, but Delta had anticipated for a worse scenario by increasing production, Mohamed explains: “Spring onions are relatively easy to grow, and just take a few months to mature, require full sun and well-cultivated fertile soil. Extreme changes in weather, such as very hot weather in the summer or heavy rains and very low temperature in the winter, can affect spring onions and can even cause some diseases. However we planned to have plenty of spring onions, exceeding the expected demand, to avoid any production problems and keep supplying our clients on time.”
The year 2020 has been a challenging one according to Mohamed. Most of all, this had to do with the pandemic. Delta made sure to take precautions to protect its workers. “Naturally, one of the biggest challenges that we faced this year is Covid-19, as we had to keep the workflow as planned while taking all precautionary measures to maintain the safety of workers. We have taken extreme precautions and increased our safety and quality team in addition to our continuous keenness to follow quality and safety international standards,” Mohamed explained. Luckily the price for their produce has been stable for the most past: “The price of green onions is somewhat stable, except for some periods in which there is a severe shortage in the quantities offered. This means prices increase, however despite that increase we adhere to the agreed prices, as we work with contracts with our customers for fixed programs. This means safety and security for everybody.”
The future looks bright for Delta, as it is increasing production and trying to get a larger market share in various European countries. The French and Belgian markets seem interesting to enter, says Mohamed. “Last year we exported 27 million bunches of spring onions, and we planned to export 45.5 million bunches in the next season. To achieve this we’ve increased our cultivated lands and facilities to match customer demand. We mainly export to the German market as it takes the most of our productions volume. The United Kingdom comes in second, but we are seeking to increase the volume of our exports to the United Kingdom. The goal is to put contracts in place with major importers, in addition to our continuous work to improve the quality of our products and facilities to match the standards of the European market. The Netherlands ranks third, but we expect an increase in export volumes next season, as there is growing interest from Dutch importers. We are seeking to increase our share in the current markets in parallel with our endeavors to increase production capacity. We also have some plans to be present in the French and Belgian markets.”