The Egyptian citrus season is in full swing. The mandarins have had a rocky season, while lemons and oranges have increased in production. Larger sizes of oranges are not widely available, while issues in competing countries could provide an opportunity for Egyptian companies to step in.
When it comes to Egypt’s overall citrus production, most of the varieties have seen an increase in production. According to Gehan El Sheref, export specialist for Egyptian fresh produce exporter El Rawan, only mandarins struggled this season due to a weaker harvest: “Egypt normally exports about 60,000 tons of mandarins in a season. However, this year production was quite week, with very low quantities. I think there’s about 20 to 25 thousand tons of mandarins in total. When it comes to lemons, Egypt exported around 60,000 tons last year and we expect this number to increase by 10% for the upcoming season. Valencia’s have seen an increase in production of about 10 to 20%, however there is a shortage for the larger sizes this year.”
El Sheref expects the volumes of Turkey’s citrus to slow down in February, leaving an opportunity for Egyptian produce to pick up any gaps. “The season for citrus has also started in Turkey and Spain, however there’ll be less exports from Turkey at the start of February. This means there’s a chance for Egyptian citrus to enter some big markets like India. We have a big client base there and have received a lot of orders until now. We’ve started supplying Valencias to markets like Romania, Russia, Gabon, Senegal, Latvia, Lithuania and Vietnam.”
When it comes to Spain as a competitor, the country had a lot of issues with the workforce last year. This year things are different in Spain, El Sheref explains: “Last year our citrus season had some positive effects from issues in Spain. Last season they were in lockdown, made it more difficult to have the workers do their job. This season they’ve treated the situation with care, meaning the coronavirus and lockdowns will not affect their exports as much. We do expect some opportunities if they experience more snowstorms, so we’ll be ready to supply where it’s needed.”
For El Rawan, the challenges of the pandemic have not really had an impact on the export capabilities of the company. “Our exportvolume have not been affected as much by the coronavirus, as we export to 35 countries around the world. We did notice that movement in Western Europe and Chine is a bit slower, but overall demand from premium markets has increased compared to last year, like the Gulf countries and Russia as well. Right now we’re focused on the mandarin season as well, which have higher prices than last year. We expect orders for Navels to increase in the coming days.” El Sheref concludes.