The Egyptian citrus season has begun, starting with Navel oranges. After that the Valencia oranges will be exported. Navels will have lower quantities than last year, but Valencias should provide some body to the season. The focus will be on Japan, as this is the first year the citrus from Egypt will be able to exported to this specific market.
According to Wessam Taha, marketing specialist for Egyptian fruit exporter MMA Fresh Produce, the Egyptian exporters will face a challenging season, made harder by the lack of trade fairs: “The Egyptian citrus season has just started and all farmers, packers and exporters are well prepared the best they can be. The coronavirus will cause a lot of challenges. There will be no traveling and thus no trade fairs, which is why all exporters must have a strategy to reach new customers.”
Navel oranges will kick-off the season, of which there are less volumes available. The bulk of the season will contain Valencia oranges, which will be important to get a foothold in the Japanese market, Taha states: “Egypt starts with Navel oranges, which has slightly less volumes than we had last year. For Valencia oranges we expect a very good season, with solid quantities and good quality. Demand is always good for Egyptian oranges, but the market is ever-changing, so this year we’ll be focusing on a new market; Japan. We feel that the South-East Asian market is the future for our company. Of course Europe will always remain to be important as well, and this year we expect them to buy more oranges than usual, as the Spanish are expected to have shortages due to rains.”
As the Spanish could be facing some problems with their citrus season, Taha feels there’s an opportunity for Egyptian citrus to be the number one alternative to Spanish citrus when it comes to the European market. “Our main markets are in India, China, Indonesia and Malaysia, more so than Europe. As I stated earlier, the exports of Egyptian oranges are expected to increase in European markets. The Spanish ' crisis' means the Egyptian orange is the best alternative for these markets, given the popularity of the product. We have our competitive price and quality to thank for that popularity. Russia is basically the cookie-monster for oranges in terms of demand, so this will also be a solid market for us. Finally, we’re targeting new markets such as New Zealand and Brazil.”
“Prices seem to be reasonable right now, however they will go up slightly as the season progresses. We expect to do well this season, as the market is much more interesting this year than it was last year. Many traders were affected by the start of the coronavirus and see the new season as a chance to recover.” Taha concludes.