The Egyptian dates season is progressing with the harvest of the Barhi variety after the Medjool dates began the campaign. Aya Montasser, export manager at Fresh Yard, comments on the Barhi campaign.
Aya said, "Barhi Harvest is going well, we started in August and expect peak volumes from September to October. Overall, we didn't encounter any particular complications."
Earlier in the year, date growers reported a drop in productivity due to phytosanitary issues and the massive sandstorms that hit the country, but the drop in yields is offset by an increase in acreage.
Egypt is the largest date-producing country in the world, with a production of 1.7 million tons of dates in 2021, according to FAO figures. Dates are a strategic crop in Egypt and enjoy special government attention with ambitions to double the area under date cultivation within 5 years. Among the most widely produced varieties, "Barhi are particularly prized, thanks to their pronounced flavor and rich nutritional intake of vitamins and minerals," says Aya.
The exporter adds, "Barhi is produced in the Minya regions, in oasis and desert areas, where quality is at its best. We're also pleased to see an improvement in volumes this season compared with last, despite the weather hazards."
Egyptian date exports are shaped by the Islamic religious calendar and destined for countries with a dominant Islamic population, but exporters are working to reach a broader consumer base. Aya says, "In the Barhi variety, we have strong demand from Malaysia and Indonesia. But the variety is also being discovered and appreciated by a wider range of consumers, thanks to its taste and dietary benefits. We export large volumes to European hubs such as Amsterdam. On the other hand, demand from African markets is slower than expected this season."