The Horticultural Export Improvement Association (HEIA) aims to increase the capacity of the cooled arena in Cairo International airport in order to increase it to 120,000 tonnes, compared to the current 85,000 tonnes, within two years.
Mohsen El Beltagy, head of HEIA, said that the association has allocated about EGP 10m to implement the project within this year.
He added that the company aims to establish a laboratory for the remains of pesticides on an area of 50 acres over the next two years
“We have allocated $8m to establish the new lab, and there are current negotiations with a number of fund-providing agencies to fund the project,” he said
The association is seeking to establish a centre to train young farmers and raise awareness among them about the different methods of irrigation and fertilisation. The association aims to make the centre internationally recognised in order to provide certificates to farmers.
He noted that about 85,000 tonnes of agricultural crops were exported through Cairo airport’s cooled arena last year, and that the association aims to increase the amount by 20% this year to exceed 100,000 tonnes.
The cooled arena receives different kinds of vegetables and fruits that need special attention in controlling the cooling system and maintaining an accurate trading system
El Beltagy estimated the total agricultural exports at 3.5m tonnes, including about 1.35m tonnes of oranges, where Egypt ranks first in the world in exporting oranges
El Beltagy expected orange exports to increase to 1.5m tonnes during the current export season, by 11% increase compared to the last season, through expanding in exporting following the Central Bank of Egypt’s decision to float the Egyptian pound.
Russia is considered the main importer of citrus fruits from Egypt, followed by gulf countries, eastern Europe, east Asia, and China
El Beltagy said that Egyptian exports of oranges to China are witnessing continuous growth, where exported amounts increased from 6,000 tonnes in 2007 to 36,000 in 2016, and the amount is expected to reach 50,000 tonnes this season, with a 35% growth
He said that Egyptian companies used to export 6,000 tonnes of grapes in 1996, but the amount increased to 110,000 tonnes annually, and is expected to increase again to 120,000 tonnes in 2017, especially after signing the cooperation protocol with China
Egypt exports six basic products of agricultural crops. Citruses form the largest percentage with exports of 1.3m tonnes annually, followed by onions with 550,000 tonnes, 500,000 tonnes of potatoes, 110,000 tonnes of grapes, 100,000 tonnes of string beans, and 55,000 tonnes of pomegranates.
HEIA was established in 1996, and has an office in 6th of October City, and another in Luxor, which was established in 2003 with the aim of developing horticultural exports in Upper Egypt