Sharp increase in demand for Egyptian citrus in China

The Egyptian company Fruttella, devoted to the cultivation and export of fresh agricultural products, will soon start the citrus campaign, and according to its CEO, Ahmed Sarhan, even though the fruit’s coloration has been delayed because of the very hot weather in Egypt, Fruttella is expecting a larger Navel harvest than last year and a similar one for the Valencia. The yield will be lower for the Valencia, but new lands coming into production will bring balance.

In addition to Navel and Valencia oranges, Fruttella also produces lemon and grapefruit, for which Egypt is the world’s largest citrus suppliers, with 15% of the total. “Egypt’s citrus production will reach around 3.5 million tonnes, which is a little bit higher than last year,” says Sarhan.

One of the big opportunities for growth lies in China, although this applies only to a handful of Egyptian companies, given the strict import protocols. “Temperature in the container, for example, cannot exceed 1.1 degrees Celsius for 12 consecutive days, and if it does, the Chinese authorities will refuse the container,” explains Mr Sarhan. Shipping to China can consequently be done only by companies with very strong quality controls.

For its part, Fruttella started shipping last year to China, and this season they are expecting to double their export volumes. Revenue is also really good in China, with much higher prices than in Europe. “Chinese demand for Egyptian citrus has increased tremendously over the past two years.”

As a result of all this, maintaining the products’ quality is a priority for Fruttella. To this end, “We have renewed our programmes at farm level to decrease the amount of blemishes on the peel and we are also enforcing stricter regulations in our packing house to eliminate all undesired oranges from the shipments going to China,” explains Sarhan.

European countries and Russia are also important for the firm, but efforts are currently focusing on trying to enter the Australian market and it is also in the middle of the bargaining process to gain access to the U.S. “While shipments to Ukraine were lower last season, we increased our exports to Russia. Prices were a little lower, but we still managed to send huge volumes, which in the end allowed Egypt to remain the world’s largest citrus exporter.”

All in all, Sarhan has good hopes for the coming campaign. “In the domestic market, production is growing and this may push prices down, but I think it will be a more stable season, at least for us, and we expect to export a larger amount of citrus than last year.”

For more information:

Ahmed Sarhan / Shahira Sarhan
Tel: 00202 330 43927
Mob: 0020100 6055 059 Ahmed / 002012201 21000 Shahira
Email /

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