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Complicated season for Egyptian oranges

The Egyptian season for Navel oranges has seen both large volumes and large fruit calibers which is not a good thing. According to Mohamed Ghallab, Chairman of Agroegypt, "Most foreign markets demand small to medium sized oranges. This means that large amounts of Navel oranges of the current harvest are simply too large in size to be exported to these main markets."

“The Navel volumes in this season have been very large. Some areas had an increase in production of up to 30% to 50%. However, the large sizes were unexpected. Most markets want smaller calibers, but only 10% to 20% of the current harvest is of appropriate size. This has lead to some exporters already finishing up their seasons, which is very early,” says Ghallab.

Ghallab says that the market for Egyptian citrus in general isn’t that good as there is hardly any demand for larger sized oranges. Some Egyptian companies have access to markets in Scandinavia, where larger sized fruit is in demand. But even for these markets, there is huge surplus in volume.

Another problem Egyptian citrus exporters have to deal with is related to the recent devaluation of the Egyptian pound. “Exporters aren’t happy about it. It has lead to an increase in prices for additional materials, like packaging. These materials are usually bought in euros or dollars, which in combination with the current currency rate has lead to an increase in costs.“

Some exporters are selling their volumes with fixed price agreements. Because of this, these companies aren’t able to efficiently cope with the current economical situation. “Right now, prices for growers are really strong. For exporters, not so much. We can’t really properly deal with the current fluctuations in the market.”

Ghallab hopes that the situation for the Egyptian citrus sector will turn around with the season for Valencia oranges. This season starts in January and the prospects for Valencias are good. “We’re starting earlier due to good weather. We should also see medium sizes and good coloration for Valencias,” says Ghallab.

Like other Egyptian exporters, Agroegypt aims to send its Valencia oranges to eastern markets like China. Another market that shows promise is Australia, where larger sized oranges are in high demand. “This market is a bit complicated and in the end not all exporters are trading with Australia. During the peak of the season, the most important market is Russia. But Russian prices aren’t that good, partly due to competition from cheaper suppliers in Turkey.”

Companies like them are counting on the coming Valencia oranges to compensate for the lackluster Navel season. “We’re hoping the market gets better, otherwise this will be a big problem for the Egyptian citrus sector. We would love to increase our volumes, but we’re not going to rush our production. Our main focus is to establish our name and brand with good quality fruit. For this reason, we’re once again coming to Fruit Logistica in Berlin,” concludes Ghallab.

For more information:

Mohamed Ghallab
Mob +(20) 1223108044
Tel+(20) 238642048
Fax+ (20) 238642049