Over the years, Egypt has become a true powerhouse when it comes to oranges. Last season started off well, but the start of the current season seems to be more challenging. Demand isn’t as high as it was in 2020, and increased costs makes the season more difficult.
The start of the Egyptian orange season has not been as swift as it was last year, says Gehan El Sherif, export specialist for fresh produce exporter El Rawan: “The outlook on the Egyptian orange season is not clear yet, as we do see a current lack of demand. Last season, around this time we’d be trying to put the work of 48 hours into a 24-hour day, as it was so busy with work. We were already exporting to all of the markets in Europe, the Far East and Africa. However, this season the demand is vastly different, as there are still oranges in the market from other competing countries, like Greece, Spain, Turkey and South Africa.”
As for most exporters, costs of transport are getting crazy, making the season much more difficult, El Sherif explains. “This orange season comes with many challenges. First, the high prices of shipping costs for destinations, which change abruptly in a very strange way. Next to that, the high cost for raw materials here in Egypt, like for cartons. Prices have doubled compared to the previous season. Top that off with the lack of demand during the start of the season and one can see the difficulties sometimes seem endless.”
Currently demand might be low, but El Sherif claims this could change once other oranges start to hit the market: “However, there is light on the horizon, as we’re now loading Navel oranges to the Far Eastern market. Last year about 1,800 million tons of oranges were exported from Egypt. All the sources say we won’t be able to repeat those volumes this year, however that doesn’t mean the oranges will go to waste. The domestic demand in Egypt is almost more rewarding than the export at the moment, but things might change once we move on to the Valencia oranges.”
“ElRawan doesn’t just deal in citrus, we export quite a few fresh products, like sweet potatoes, white beans, golden and red onions, artichokes, pumpkins, iceberg lettuce and broccoli.” El Sherif concludes.