The grape season in Egypt has started slightly earlier than usual, which is great for the grape growers. Prices for grapes are expected to be slightly more stable than usual as well, which can’t be said about the freight rates. Transport prices are still high overall and unstable on top of that.
According to Indji El-Shahawy, export manager for Egyptian produce exporter Green Tiba, the Egyptian grape season will see less volumes compared to 2020: “Egyptian grapes are in high demand worldwide due to their premium quality and naturally sweet flavor. This year’s harvest is less compared to 2020 harvest in terms of white variety of seedless grapes due to increased soil infertility. The grape season has started earlier than usual this year, which is great as the gap between each variety has increased as a result. Growers will greatly benefit from this gap and each variety will take a good amount of time and focus during the season. For Green Tiba, the season starts with the ‘Early Sweet’ white seedless grapes variety, the rest of the varieties will follow during the season.”
El-Shahawy expects more price stability this year, where normally prices would fluctuate a lot more over the course of the season. “Usually at the beginning of the season, prices are rather high due to low supply. After the initial period, the prices gradually decrease as the supply starts to increase. This year is slightly different as we expect more price stability right from the start. At the moment, demand is good and we expect it to rise further as soon as more red and black varieties are available. These varieties are the most favored by our clients, particularly in South Africa.”
As with many exporters, the increased freight rates are proving to be challenging. El-Shahawy feels the situation is rather dire when looking at exports to the Far East: “One of the biggest challenges this season comes down to the high and unstable shipping rates, particularly transport to the Far East countries and Africa. Another challenge is that, despite our efforts in arranging loading schedules before the season rushes, we always find increased demand and new orders every week along the season, which we try to cover as much as possible. That’s why we always advise our loyal clients to secure their orders in advance before our harvest is sold out entirely.”
“Our company produces and exports large volume of grapes every year. What really matters to us is maintaining the perfect balance between high quality, good volume and harvest timing at ideal brix level over each season. Some growers only care about producing more volume at the expense of quality, which is something against our standards. We’re ready for an exciting season!” El-Shahawy concludes.