Sustaining a share in the Asian markets is a challenge for Egyptian pomegranate exporters, given the huge production of this fruit in Asia and the fierce competition. However, Egyptian exporters do not lack assets to establish themselves in many Asian markets, according to Amr Abdelhafiz, Managing Director of Kingo.
The difficulties start in Egypt already, at the production level, in an industry increasingly fragilized by climatic conditions. "Growers are facing considerable challenges in maintaining the same level of quality as previous seasons, due to a number of factors including weather conditions and production conditions in general, which calls for greater efforts in agricultural operations, sorting, and packing," says Amr. "This prompted growers to convert to other crops, causing the acreage of pomegranates to fall by 25% nationwide in just one year."
Making matters even more difficult for Egyptian exporters, they face fierce competition from major Asian origins of pomegranates such as Iran, India, and Pakistan. "Enhancing our competitiveness on the Asian market, and keeping up with the giants of pomegranate production, is not easy and requires a great deal of adaptation," says Amr.
The exporter, who specializes in the Asian market for a range of fruits, such as pomegranates, citrus, and others, is defending his position through a series of measures implemented recently. He explains, "Given the difficulty of sourcing the same level of quality as in previous seasons, we have expanded our acreage in contrast to the Egyptian average. This is necessary in order to subsequently implement meticulous sorting and packaging processes to ensure high customer satisfaction."
Maintaining a presence in Asian markets also involves varietal choices. "Based on our understanding of consumer needs and requirements, we are focusing on the Wonderful and Egyptian Baladi varieties. These are the varieties we recommend to our customers in the Far East and also in Russia, because of the competitive pricing and the extended shelf life. In a very demanding market, focusing on consumer preferences, including in terms of sizes, is not a luxury."
"Egyptian exporters to Asian markets need to focus on improving product differentiation, maintaining consistent quality, and leveraging strategic partnerships," says Amr. "Participation in major industry events, such as AFL (Asian Fruit Logistica), has been instrumental in strengthening our presence in the Asian market. Once again this year, thanks to this platform, we established valuable relationships, showcased our top-quality products, and obtained information on market trends and preferences. By continually adapting to market dynamics and focusing on quality excellence, Egyptian exporters can strengthen their competitiveness in the Asian market.
This season, the pomegranate varieties most produced in Egypt are 116, followed by Wonderful and Baladi, with sizes this year ranging from 7 to 14. The 25% drop in acreage, and difficult production conditions, have contributed to a price increase of approximately 35% compared to last season, according to Amr. "Despite the price increase, we continue to make significant efforts to offer competitive pricing while maintaining the quality and value that our customers expect," concludes the exporter.
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