Egypt became the world’s biggest exporter of oranges exceeding its competitors Spain and South Africa in terms of volumes, but not in terms of revenue. Orange export accounts for approximately 80% of Egypt’s total citrus production.
In October 2017, the Agricultural Export Council of Egypt & Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation launched a programme requiring orange farms to comply with a new framework for food protection. The new system aimed to register and code orange farms participating in export in order to be able to monitor their farming practices and regulate the use of pesticides. The measures helped small and medium sized local farmers to raise the level of quality of their oranges so that they could meet international standards and engage more in global trading. The country is expected to export 1.45 million metric tonnes (MMT) down from 1.67 MMT in 2020-21 with lower production owing to unfavourable climatic conditions.
Oranges help Egypt make about a $1billion in export revenue a year, growing about 17% annually since 2017. Egypt’s main orange varieties include Washington Navel and Valencia oranges and others like Baladi, Blood, Khalily, Yafawy and Sweet oranges.
Reasons For Rise In Exports
- The dramatic rise in exports over the past 3 years is mainly the result of the steep devaluation of the Egyptian Pound (the country received a bailout from the International Monetary Fund).
- The other reason is the government’s action plan, which has improved the quality of Egyptian oranges and made them much more competitive in the international market.
- China and Egypt have the same harvest season. China increased its import volume in 2019 to cater to the domestic demand as its own production got impacted by citrus greening disease. Egypt shipped 191,000 tonnes of oranges to China back then, 107% more than the previous year making Egypt the leading supplier of oranges to China.Brazil, India, China, Mexico and the US are still the top producers of oranges. Most of the stock goes for domestic consumption in the US, China and Brazil while Mexico finds it difficult to find export destinations.
- Significant increase in exports was to India due to higher demand by Indian consumers amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Exports to Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Netherlands also increased.
The total area planted in oranges is forecasted at 168,000 hectares similar to the previous year. 70% of the planted area is in desert reclaimed lands while plantations in the Nile Delta region account for the other 30% of the planted area.
Harvested area is projected at 135,000 hectares, a 6.9% decline as compared to the last year due to unfavourable weather conditions and fluctuating temperatures during the flowering time.
The government has worked to expand the amount of farmable land by a million acres , representing a 15% increase in Egypt’s total farmable land.
Challenges For The Upcoming Season
➢ Farmers may face problems like high fertilizer costs, logistical problems, unfavourable weather and fluctuating temperatures.
➢ Lack of demand for larger oranges(70%) and high demand for smaller oranges(30%) may also pose an emerging challenge to counter.
➢ Some markets still have oranges from South Africa kept in their cold stores which may impact demand for oranges from Egypt.
➢ New rules on usage of pesticides imposed by Russia which poses troubles for farmers of Egypt and is forcing them to adjust their practices.
➢ With the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, new markets for Egyptian oranges would be required. Prior to war, Russia imported 250,000 tonnes of oranges from Egypt which is a considerable number for Egypt.
As mentioned, owing to Russia’s special military exercise in Ukraine and the imposition of new rules on usage of pesticides by Russia, Egypt needs to find new markets for its oranges. While Egyptian oranges have already found their way to store shelves in Uruguay, Myanmar and Japan, more new markets can be accessed through the World’s 1st Digital Trade Hub of Tradologie With its network of 600,000+ buyers from 85+ countries, orange sellers from Egypt can find limitless opportunities to grow their business.