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Don Limon Ltd on this year's citrus harvest in Egypt

"We are encountering a nice market, both from a procurement and a distribution point of view"

The first batches of Egyptian navel oranges arrived in European ports in week 51 and will now be successively marketed. According to Schindler, the season has gotten off to a promising start. "We are encountering a nice market, both in terms of procurement and distribution.

"Ultimately, the mood toward Europe in terms of juice oranges for the fresh sector is particularly positive. At the end of the South African season in the fall, the markets destabilized and there was an acute surplus of supply. We accordingly looked forward to the start of the season in Egypt with concern, but fortunately the market then recovered in time and we are now seeing normal conditions," says Andreas Schindler, Managing Director of Don Limon Ltd.

The popular calibers in the fresh range are also currently available in pleasing quantities, continues the Hamburg-based fruit importer. "In last year's season, we had too much oversized produce that was unsuitable for pressing; this year, on the other hand, we have a high proportion of fruit that runs through the juice machine without any problems. Basically, we feel that the market is very opaque and unpleasant, which is why Egyptian oranges are more of a positive exception at the moment."

Aziz Abo Shady

Pleasing product availability
Aziz Abo Shady, Don Limon product specialist and on-site expert, agrees 100%. "Small caliber (100/113/125) oranges account for about 30 to 40 percent of the volume. Medium caliber (72/80/88) and large caliber (40/56) each comprise about 30 percent of the total yield. In contrast, for the popular Valencia oranges, the large calibers (40/56) account for only 10 to 15 percent of production."

The global citrus market is particularly competitive these days. During the season, the Egyptian citrus industry is in direct competition with Mediterranean countries, led by Spanish growing regions. Says Abo Shady, "We are finding that Egyptian citrus is competing quite well on price. The first half of the season in Spain was characterized by shortages, which had a corresponding effect on the price level. Egypt, as well as other growing countries, have in turn been able to benefit from this situation."

Professionalization at the origin
Don Limon has been operating an independent office in the western Nile Delta, between Alexandria and Cairo, for two years. "Due to its balanced trade policy and optimal conditions, Egypt has established itself as the leading export country in the fresh orange sector over the past two decades. In terms of time frame, Egypt is of course in direct competition with Spain, although both countries have their raison d'être in citrus exports. Egypt is mainly accepted in the areas of gastronomy, the hotel industry and in exports to Eastern Europe and is less common in the local food retail trade. This is also partly related to the logistics chains in Spain, which can react a bit faster and more precisely to the high expectations of northwestern European retailers."

Nevertheless, Schindler continues to observe an increasing professionalization of the Egyptian citrus sector. Says Schindler, "The problems with residues on the fruit are largely under control. In any case, we are on the right track and also see further potential in the European food retail sector in the future."

Uncertainty along the value chain
Overall, the market environment is proving quite difficult. "We are sensing uncertainty along the value chain, i.e. among all market participants, which is definitely due to the cost increases. Nevertheless, a largely normalization of the sea freight situation is positive."

Visit the company at Fruit Logistica: Hall 25 / B02.

For more information:
Andreas Schindler
Don Limon GmbH
Großmarkt Hamburg
Tel. +49 (0)40 - 3095499-0
Fax: +49 (0)40 - 3095499-60  

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