The citrus season in Egypt comes with challenges this year. Prices of transport and raw materials have increased, leaving a mark on the final price of the product. A shortage of the produce means demand will not slow down, which also means there are opportunities for Egyptian exporters to reach new markets.
Egyptian fresh produce exporter Rula for Land Reclamation has been preparing for the Egyptian citrus season for a couple of months and the season is finally here, says Mostafa Ali, commercial manager for Rula: “We have started the preparation for the new citrus season since last September, by improving and renewing the packing house. We’ve also made extra effort to check on all the farms to ensure the quality of the fruit is on par with our expectations.”
Although Ali expects solid demand for the citrus season, it will come with its challenges, specifically the price of logistics. “This season is a difficult season, especially for the logistical side of things. the freight rates for transport via sea have doubled and available space is limited, which will affect the export process in a negative way. Also, the production this season is another challenge, specifically the Navel Variety, there is a shortage of about 50% and I think this will be good for the demand.”
Due to the challenges mentioned above, Ali does think demand will be strong in certain regions: “There is solid demand at the moment, especially from eastern Europe, western Europe and the Far East. However, prices are high due to the high costs we have to deal with, like packing material, raw material as well as the cost of ocean freight. On top of that, there’s a shortage of the produce, which also makes the price increase.”
Ali states that the company has its eyes set on new markets this year as well, both African markets as well as the Brazilian market: “Rula Farms aims to enter new markets this season, such as countries in Africa. I’ve already sent shipments to African markets in the past, but I want to expand the business there, as it’s a promising area. I’d also like to enter the Brazilian market, as they took large volumes of Navel from Spain and Uruguay, so there is room for us to sell our produce. Overall though, I expect we’ll have a good season for citrus this year, but it’ll take a lot of effort to deal with the challenges that we are presented with.” He concludes.