By Doaa Farid
The board members of the Food Exports Council (FEC) who participated in the American Fancy Food Show 2013 announced that Egypt succeeded in exporting 300 food products to the US, with annual sales of Egyptian food exports in US exceeding EGP 500m.
The council urged the establishment of a new supervisory authority to control the quality of agricultural crops and the use of pesticides and chemicals, in order to monitor and increase the quality of Egyptian products.
Alaa El-Bahie, the chairman of the FEC, said the vast US market could accommodate a surge in the volume of Egyptian food exports and the establishment of the supervisory authority would be the key to expanding Egyptian exports to the US market.
“A sample of exports would be analysed before shipping, if it didn’t meet regulations, the exporter would have to suspend his operation,” he said, explaining that repeat offenders could be barred from exporting for two years.
He noted that olives and olive oil comprise the majority of food items exported, due to the availability of the good soil and the low water needs of the crop, as well as production well over the needs of the domestic market in Egypt.
El-Bahie added that importers may have concerns about the quality of the water used in irrigation: “That’s why the European Union prevents importing from specific countries,” he said.
According to a report by the FEC, the value of Egyptian food exports to the US amounted to EGP 260m during the first half of 2013, with an increase of 9% from the same period in 2012.
Egypt has been exporting food products to the US for 11 years.
Saudi Arabia topped the list of importers of Egyptian food products during the first half of 2013, with its imports valued at EGP 1.4bn, followed by Libya with EGP 798m, then Sudan with EGP 574m, Jordan with EGP 536m, Lebanon with EGP 475m, United Arab Emirates with EGP 447m and Iraq with EGP 419m.