The arrival of the first navel oranges in Europe on December 16 marks the start of this year's Egyptian citrus season. After several years of strong growth, the initial yield and market forecasts for this year are also very promising, Aziz Shady, Product Manager at Don Limon, told us. Last season, the North African country exported a total of 458,000 tons of oranges to Europe, which corresponds to an increase of over 83 percent and a 45 percent share of total EU orange imports. This year, an export volume of over 600,000 tons is expected.
Aziz Shady looks after citrus exports on site in Egypt. Don Limon ships the oranges in both big bags and cartons.
The key figures for Egyptian citrus products are simply impressive: according to the latest figures, citrus fruits are grown on a total of 172,200 hectares in the country, which corresponds to an increase of 4.5 percent compared to the previous year. This means that the citrus category represents almost 40 percent of the total domestic fruit volume. The Valencia juice orange is still the flagship of the Egyptian citrus sector, although other varieties such as the Navel and Sukkari oranges and the Baladi press orange are also produced in the country. In terms of exports, the country is in direct competition with Spain. Shady: "Normally, Egyptian oranges are offered at a slightly lower price, but due to the weather this year, the produce is fresh, which in turn means that we can offer them at a satisfactory, competitive price from week 50 to week 3 of the new year."
The good conditions make it possible to supply the European market with high-quality Egyptian citrus fruit. "Added to this is the increased availability of water, which has significantly improved the quality of Egyptian produce. This in turn has led to increased demand on the European market," says Shady. As a result, Don Limon expects a stable price level this year and possibly a price increase from the end of January. In addition, freight prices are expected to rise later in the season, in line with the increasing demand for Egyptian goods.
Don Limon on course for global expansion
Don Limon continued to expand its international network last year. In order to better serve the markets in the Baltic States, direct shipments to Lithuania will be made for the first time in 2023. In 2022, a branch in the UK has already been put into operation. "This will help us to expand our presence on the British market and better meet the growing demand. The same applies to our branch in Marseille in the south of France," explains CEO Andreas Schindler. There are also plans to open another hub in the Greek port city of Thessaloniki.
The Hamburg-based company is also expanding outside Europe. Schindler: "We are striving to further expand our position in Latin and North America, particularly in Canada. In addition, our team has established a branch in India in order to further deepen our relationships with the local market and consumers. The growing demand for our products in the East African region is also worth mentioning. Finally, the Middle East remains an interesting market with great potential for our products."
Pictures: Don Limon GmbH.