As it is the start of a new year, it is certain that most Egyptian fruit exporters have their hands full on the citrus season. The Valencia season is coming up, and every exporter has a different experience. One exporter feels they’ll have a lot of opportunities in the South American markets, as Brazil seems to be having issues with their citrus supply. Prices are slightly lower than they were last season, as last year the focus was on the uncertainty that the new coronavirus had instilled in the market.
Last Valencia season was rather challenging, but the new season is looking a lot better, with good potential, says MMA Fresh Produce international sales manager Mostafa Adel: “The upcoming season looks to be favorable compared to last season. The reason for this is the market has much better prices when it comes to the worldwide market. Last season we also had to deal with the start of the coronavirus, which came with a lot of uncertainty. This meant there was hardly any regular price or any control over the prices, which proved bad for us in the long run.
"This season, Egypt is targeting to export 1.65 million tons of oranges, when it was 1.51 million tons last season. The total citrus production in Egypt will be around 3.7 million tons, which means there’ll be a 6.2% increase in fruit production in 2021. For MMA Fresh Produce, we expect to export about 6,000 to 7,000 tons of oranges this season.”
Although the season will be better than in 2020, the coronavirus has not been defeated yet, so Adel does expect some challenging times ahead, especially is more lockdowns are put in place. “Naturally the biggest challenge of the season is the same in the entire world, as the coronavirus is still among us. It’s our fear that most of our important markets will be closed off by March because of the second, or in some countries even a third wave. Of course there are also opportunities this season, as the Spanish are having difficulties with their weather, and Brazil is also having some serious issues with their citrus. This means we’ll have more opportunities to export to new markets, like Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and some African countries.”
Adel states that the fact Japan is interested in Egyptian citrus will give the image of Egyptian fruit as a whole a nice boost, as Japanese consumers have very high standards when it comes to quality: “For us, the major markets will Europe first, then India and China. Japan is still a relatively new market as they didn't buy from Egypt for a long time. At the moment, exporting Egyptian orange to Japan is like a level-up for the fruit, as everyone knows how much Japanese value quality. Their interest in our oranges will generate a lot of trust for Egyptian fruit, resulting in Egyptian fruits reaching tougher markets more easily.”
“Finally, I would like to appeal to the marine service providers, to ensure they offer the best and lowest transit time to the areas where the shortages are, so the Egyptian market can keep growing, also meaning growth for the marine services. For instance, having a 30 day transit time to Japan, which is a new market, is of no use to us.” Adel concludes.