The arrival of the first airlifted produce in week 42 marks the start of this year's spring onion campaign in Egypt. The initial signs at the start of the new season are all positive, reports Sarwat Radwan, managing director of AKL Exofresh and Egypt specialist. "The demand for the first flight merchandise is definitely still manageable, which is also due to the higher prices. Nevertheless, there have been many inquiries from the Netherlands, especially for the longer spring onions. This could indicate that in Germany, which traditionally exports a lot to the neighboring country, the focus is mainly on supplying the domestic market. This is usually again a sign that the season is slowly coming to an end."
Sarwat Radwan deals with the procurement and marketing of spring onions as a direct importer.
The Egyptian export season usually doesn't really get going until after the German spring onion harvest is over, Radwan knows. "You see something similar at the end of the season. Last year, we were able to sell Egyptian produce until mid-March. At the change of season, there was then also a kind of transitional phase in which the German merchandise was not enough to cover the total demand, which is why we were able to place Egyptian merchandise as a supplement for another two to three weeks. From January 2023 onwards, however, the quality, i.e. the shelf life, of the Egyptian goods was no longer so exhilarating, so we played it safe and relied only on air freight. In the 21/22 season, we again had an exceptional situation in which there was a weather-related shortage of German spring onions in March."
Most of the spring onion facilities are equipped with modern irrigation systems to minimize risks accordingly.
During the season, Egypt is in direct competition with Morocco and, first and foremost, Italy. "The Italians, of course, have the advantage of shorter transport distances, which should not be forgotten in view of the increased transport costs. Nevertheless, Egypt has been able to increase its market share considerably in recent years," Radwan describes the upward trend in Egyptian spring onions.
Sarwat Radwan (m) visiting his supplier in northern Egypt.
In Egypt, both the elongated Foton variety and the thicker, shorter Giza spring onion are grown. Both varieties are quickly finding their way to consumers, whether through wholesale markets or food retailers. "It should also be added that northern Egyptian leek onion cultivation has become considerably more professional over the years. Due to the lack of rainfall, irrigation is an absolute necessity and the investments are now bearing fruit. What could possibly still play a negative role this year is war-related unrest in the region. However, this will become apparent later in the season," concludes the direct importer.
Insight into the preparation and packaging of spring onions
Images: AKL Exofresh
For more information:
AKL ExoFresh GmbH
Mallinckrodt Str. 320
Telefon: +49 (0) 231 / 993 670 74
Telefax: +49 (0) 231 / 225 228 76
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