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On Saudi Arabia's ban on Egyptian onions:

“Saudia Arabia is not giving us feedback on the origin of the red onions”

The Head of the Central Department of Agricultural Quarantine at the Egyptian Agriculture Ministry, Ahmed al-Attar, announced Friday that Egypt will demand an explanation from Saudi Arabia over its decision to ban imports of Egyptian red onions.

Saudi’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture had earlier announced a temporary ban on Egyptian onion imports after it was proven to exceed the global limit for pesticide residues.

Khaled Shaker, export Manager for Green Egypt, claims the situation is really odd: “The season for exporting fresh red onions in Egypt runs from early April to late June, after this time a lot of Egyptian companies store their onions for either the local market, or later export. The shipment of red onions that Saudi Arabia claims had exceeded the global limit for pesticides must have been one of those older stocks. However, Saudi Arabia can’t identify the exporter or grower who is responsible for the shipment, their feedback is simply not sufficient.”

When asked if Saudi Arabia should lift the ban soon, Shaker feels they won’t have a choice: “The Egyptian Agriculture Ministry made a statement, saying that Egyptian red onions hardly have any pesticides, if any at all. This is because growers only use a very small amount of pesticides on the red onions and this is done very early in the growing process. Meaning those pesticides will be gone by the time the red onions are harvested. I expect Saudi Arabia will allow us to investigate the situation.”

For Green Egypt themselves, the ban won’t result in any issues: “We focus on the European market, so we can keep going on with our regular business. However it is a very interesting situation to monitor, as things are very unclear to everyone right now.” Shaker concludes.

For more information:
Khaled Shaker
Green Egypt
Cell: +2 01008187872
Tel: + (202) 24147537
Fax :+(202) 24170345
Email: [email protected]