Although transporting strawberries via sea can cause ‘shock’ for some end-users, one shipper says it’s a good system.
For the Egyptian fruit and vegetable producer Pico Modern Agriculture Company, present last week at the London Produce Show, the grape export season kicked off in May with the first shipments of the Early Sweet white seedless variety to the UK and Europe. We will start with the coloured grapes in June, namely with the Flame, as we are waiting for Chile’s season to end,” explains Alaa Diab, Managing Director of the firm.
Mr Sherif El Ezzawy and Alaa Diab from Egyptian exporter Pico.
When it comes to grapes, Pico offers the Sun World varieties, including the Midnight Beauty (black) the Sable (black) and the Red Superior, which is currently being shipped. In addition, PICO offers varieties from other international breeding programs like GRAPA, DOLE and others. “The season so far is going well, with good prices for now, although volumes are expected to increase significantly, which will drive prices down; for this reason, we try to finish our shipments before the end of July,” affirms Mr Diab.
The company has been exporting to the UK market since 1988 and over the decades has managed to gain presence in all major British supermarkets. It has also established itself in other European countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Italy or Austria, with shipments also reaching Russia, South Africa, South East Asia, and the Arabian Gulf states. “The problem we face, despite this good market penetration, is the increase in labour, processing and shipping costs, while supermarkets keep pushing for lower prices,” says Mr Diab.
Pico Agriculture makes 100% of its grapes shipments by sea in containers, with 4 to 5 departures per week. In this sense, “while shipping costs have traditionally been lower than for Spanish producers, things are slowly turning around. In any case, we easily reach many European ports in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy. Once the Spanish produce enters the market, we will move to other destinations,” concludes Alaa Diab.
Please visit www.picoagriculture.com for more information.
“Many companies are already switching over to Egyptian red onions”
Two weeks ago, the company Kohl Fruit Trading, from Bleiswijk, started selling the first red onions from Egypt. “The good crop and weather conditions have resulted in a good harvest. Calibres are smaller, but the volumes and quality are fine,” says Geoffrey Kohl. The importer says that prices have started at a good level. “Traditionally, consumers switch over to Egyptian onions as soon as the Dutch produce no longer meets the necessary quality standards; a switch which many have already made.”
Kohl Fruit delivers the onions to a wide range of European customers. According to Geoffrey, there are no plans for an acreage expansion. “Red onions are traditionally a very big crop in Egypt and I do not see an immediate need for expansion.” There are, according to Geoffrey, numerous agents and producers on the market that claim to be the largest in the country; “that’s why I regularly travel there to see what is going on behind the scenes. We have been working together with most of our suppliers for years and thus we already know what to expect.”
Next week, Kohl Fruit Trading will also receive the first batches of Egyptian grapes, starting with the white seedless and quickly followed by the red seedless. “There have been a lot of Indian grapes for a long time on the market, but their season is coming to an end and there certainly is market demand for Egyptian grapes,” concludes Geoffrey.
For more information:
Kohl Fruit Trading B.V.
2665 MP Bleiswijk, The Netherlands
Tel: 010-26 63 25 5
Publication date: 5/26/2014
With an early end to Indian supply, Egyptian grape exporters face a clear run in Europe, while trade negotiations are underway in Asia.
Cairo-based Elwadi Export is celebrating 50 years of business with large volumes of navel oranges.
Egypt’s leading produce exporter is trialing several new products in diverse markets, from the U.S. to Russia.
Egyptian exporter Fruit Link sees 25% growth
Despite recent political problems that have challenged Egypt’s fresh produce exporters, Fruit Link has managed to grow their citrus shipments. Now that they are the largest Egyptian citrus exporter in France, they look to expand their presence in more markets across the world.
“The French have Runjis Market, which is the biggest wholesale market in the world, with millions of trading shops and companies,” noted Ayman Bayoumy, sales and shipping manager for Fruit Link. That situation offers a prime opportunity for fruit supplies, he added, but only if they’re able to establish a good reputation there. While the promise of lots of customers and millions in profits is alluring and can encourage quick action, Boyoumy described Fruit Link’s entry into the French market as steady and well-planned.
“A market study report was the first step we took in order to advise our packing teams on what we should have in order to gain acceptance,” said Bayoumy. “So we packed Valencia oranges that met European and French requirements regarding entry.” The sales team followed up with a contract with Dole’s French operation, and those pre-entry steps have paid off well.
“Total citrus shipments to France from Egypt last year were 1,400 tons, and Fruit Link was responsible for 1,200 of those tons,” said Bayoumy. “So we’ve become the largest exporter to the French market, and the rest of Egyptian suppliers haven’t been able to compete with us.” Making the accomplishment all the more impressive has been the situation Egypt has gone through in the last few years. The instability caused by recent political turmoil has thrown many wrenches in Fruit Link’s logistical operation.
“We’ve had big shortages in fuel during critical times because of the instability in Egypt, but we’ve worked with our sales, shipping and packing departments to save our shipments from risk and deliver goods to our customers on time,” said Bayoumi. “We’re now looking to Indian, Russian, Malaysian, Singaporean and Bangladeshi markets, where we’ve actually seen over 25 percent growth.”
Publication date: 1/9/2014
High shipping costs could be a key barrier to Egypt’s re-entry to the U.S. citrus market.
The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recently approved a rule that would allow Egyptian exporters to resume shipments of oranges and tangerines to the United States. The rule will allow the re-entry of Egyptian citrus, which had previously been prohibited from entering the US for over a decade.
Oranges and clementines from Egypt had been prohibited from entering the US in 2002 when some Egyptian fruit was found to have peach fruit fly. But based on findings of a pest list and commodity import evaluation documents, APHIS determined that the risk of importing tangerines and oranges from Egypt could be mitigated with appropriate phytosanitary measures.
Now, oranges and tangerines will be able to come into the US from Egypt if they undergo treatments to ensure they are free of harmful pests. APHIS had proposed the rule earlier this year and sought comments on the possible change. Now that the rule will go into effect, a full list of the requirements necessary in order to bring Egyptian oranges and tangerines into the country can be obtained from APHIS.
Egyptian turmoil hits fresh produce exports
The last several years have seen much turmoil in Egypt, and the nation’s produce sector has not been immune. While events since the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 have made it difficult for exporters to move produce easily, many of the nation’s traders are hopeful the country’s situation will improve.
“The export sector has definitely been affected during the last two and a half years,” said Fruit Avenue’s Walid Arafah. The biggest problems have come from transportation problems caused by civil unrest and safety considerations in the wake of the political situation there, explained Arafah. He reported fuel shortages, disruption of shipments at ports and in transit, and overall unrest as affecting the level of trade in Egypt.
“The situation has made it so that it takes a longer time to ship produce,” said Arafah. “Up until the end of 2011, a container could reach Rotterdam from Alexandria in about seven or nine days, but now it takes much longer.” Many shipping companies no longer make the trip from Alexandria, so traders wishing to send their products to Rotterdam now have go through Italian or Slovenian ports and then use trucks to haul their goods to the Netherlands. The result is a trip that takes twice as long and costs three times as much as it did before.
“This long trip is suitable for oranges, potatoes and dry vegetables, but it is not suitable for the majority of Egyptian fresh products with a short shelf time, like spring onions, grapes, fresh garlic or green beans,” said Arafah. “So the result has been a more expensive trip that raises prices for consumers.” Alexandria hasn’t been the only port affected, said Arafah, and he reported similar situations for Damietta and Port Said. But despite the complications exporters like Fruit Avenue have had to deal with in the recent past, Arafah is optimistic about the changes he hopes are right around the corner.
“Things have started to move in a positive direction,” said Arafah. “We expect the fuel shortage problems to ease, and we expect foreign investment, which declined because of the problems we had, to return.” With lower fuel costs, he expects air shipments will decrease in cost, giving traders another option, and he expects once-defunct freight routes to return. Arafah noted that many growers didn’t see the point in raising certain crops because shipping costs were increasing, but with better transportation options, he thinks the overall economy will improve, further improving the outlook of Egypt’s produce sector.
“Egypt’s stock market improved after last week’s events,” said Arafah. “So we’re already seeing signs that it will be better for Egypt’s fresh produce sector.”
UNIVEG Katopé UK are proud to announce the first arrivals of Egyptian Fairtrade grapes from the Nile Delta into their Spalding facility.
Red ‘Flame’ and green ‘Sugraone’ are the main varieties of grape that will make up the Fairtrade Egyptian season. David Maris UNIVEG’s Fairtrade Technical Manager said, “We are extremely pleased with the quality of this early season grape; they are sweet, with good consistent berry sizing and colour.”
UNIVEG Katopé UK expects to receive 5-6 containers over the course of the season, which is expected to last from June until August. UNIVEG will then turn to Peru and South Africa for continuation of the Fairtrade grape supply.
UNIVEG Katopé UK is the country’s leading Fairtrade fruit importer, this year the company proudly celebrated 10 years involvement with Fairtrade fruit growers around the world (fruit excluding bananas).