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The crisis at Bab al-Mandab continues to hamper Egyptian citrus exports

The Strait of Bab El Mandab - translated from Arabic as "Gate of Grief" - continues to live up to its name in the context of the crisis in the Red Sea. "The season would have been very good if we hadn't been caught short by the Red Sea problem," says Ibrahim Gadallah, an Egyptian citrus exporter who invested in anticipation of a boom in Egypt's citrus sector this season.

"We launched a new packing house this season, equipped with up-to-date shorting machines, and optical sizers. It has a production capacity of 350 tonnes per day and a cold storing capacity of 3000 pellets. However, the full benefit of this new investment will not be seen until the crisis is resolved," says the exporter.

The Red Sea crisis has not only cut Egyptian exporters off from their markets in Asia but has also led to an increase in supply on the European market and a fall in prices. In the case of Janafresh, Gadallah reports, "Our exports to Asia have fallen by 40% compared to last season, and this represents up to 20% of our sales. We continue to deliver to Asian customers, through the Cape of Good Hope, with two weeks extra delivery time and $2,000 extra transport cost."

"We are doing our best to work in these conditions. We are trying to focus on the European, West African, Brazilian and Russian markets. Apart from Asia, we exported 100 containers more than at the same time last season to the rest of our markets," says the exporter.

Gadallah says that he has decided to suspend his investment plan pending resolution of the crisis in the Red Sea. He concludes, "I don't see how soon we will resume the next phases of construction of our new packing house. The crisis in Bab Al Mandab will end when the war ends, and there is no sign of an imminent end to the war."

For more information:
Ibrahim Gadallah
Tel: +20 100 366 9486