The table grape season started about ten days ago in Egypt, one month earlier than last year. This represents a commercial opportunity for Egyptian exporters, but volumes are directly impacted as well. Salem Ghonim, a consultant to the production of grapes in Egypt, comments on the situation.
Ghonim explains: "Egypt is facing climate disruptions like all other countries. This year, the summer was hotter, which caused an earlier entry of the grape season, but also a decrease in volumes for the same acreage and number of plants. This decrease is about 20-30%. The yield of a Feddan (0.42 ha) is usually around 10 tons, this year it is around 7 tons."
"But in terms of quality, there is no change, the Egyptian production remains superior with a very nice taste and aesthetic, and this season is no exception," adds Ghonim
The early entry represents a good business opportunity, according to Ghonim, "as we enter the market a month before Spain, one of our main competitors. This gives us a better position in Europe, and allows us to enter other markets that are usually sourced in Spain such as North Africa."
Egyptian producers are mainly targeting Europe, says Ghonim, but also East Asia and some African and Arab markets, as well as Russia. "Besides Spain, our main competitors are Chile, which turns to Europe if it does not have good exports to the United States, and India, which competes with us in the white grapes."
The Russian market also has a great demand this year, says Ghonim, "Russia has a very solid and growing demand, covering all varieties and colors. Russia is on track to become our first market, and even overtake Europe if the trends continue in this way."
Despite the decline in volumes, exporters will be able to meet the demand, ensures Ghonim, "It should be noted that only 10-15% of Egyptian production of table grapes is exported, which leaves a lot of room and capacity to meet any demand. Also, all the production of this year is not yet harvested."
Finally, regarding prices, Ghonim states: "Prices are quite good this year. But the producers don't have much say in this. It's the exporters who set the prices, and sometimes the farm gate price stays the same while we see the export price go up."
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