Agro Food for Agricultural Crops aims to keep its sales at EGP 250m this year, the same as 2016.
Salah Hegazy, chairperson of the company, said that 50% of the company’s products are organic, which is why it channels production to supermarket chains that have a consumer base for organic products.
Agro Food specialises in potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, beets, and carrots, which collectively account for 70% of total sales. England is the largest importer of the company’s product, accounting for 60% of its exports, followed by Russia with 15% of products.
Hegazy said that the company is producing according to a programme agreed upon with foreign importers, which helps the company develop its production annually according to market needs.
He explained that the company exported about 2,500 tonnes of potatoes, at a time when importers in the foreign market are in need of 10,000 tonnes. He pointed out that the company cannot meet the demand, due to a lack of good agriculture land.
He noted that the company has 5,000 feddans (5,189 acres), with plans to acquire more lands to meet the growing demand.
Moreover, Hegazy said that Egyptian crops have a potential for growth in international markets—especially African countries—amid competition faced in Europe, which nominates Africa to be a new market for Egypt.
He added that Egyptian products are highly competitive in African markets and have the advantage of geographical proximity, as well as possessing similar tastes and cultures.
He said that the quality enjoyed by Egyptian crops qualify them for competition in Africa, but after solving two main problems. The first problem is the transportation to all African countries, while the second problem is receiving dues—considering the weakness of the banking systems in those countries.
Hegazy said that the Argin crossing, which connects four African countries together, is one of the long-term solutions to the transportation problem, although it will not be enough. He explained that the sensitivity of agricultural products requires faster routes, preferably through air shipping.
He added that the cost of land transportation is high compared to maritime shipping, which is more economic for exports. He urged the state to consider the transportation issues in the coming period.
Taking part in international exhibitions is necessary in order to learn about international developments and meet foreign clients, he urged, pointing out that taking more interest in marketing is a very good step towards developing exports and expanding to new markets, as well as preparing market studies.
Holding strong economic ties with other countries can help increase trade in the African markets, he noted, adding that helping countries with their national projects will revive the economies of those countries, while also helping Egypt to secure its food needs with lower prices.
In addition, Hegazy said that manufacturing raises the value of products on global markets, which means more hard cash revenues that can be used for new projects.
Overcoming problems that are faced while exporting to African markets would help double Egyptian exports to the continent, he added.
Hegazy asserted that Egypt must go further in cooperating with African countries, including offering studies and plans, in order to help them establish strong infrastructures, which would also strengthen relations with these countries.
Lastly, he pointed out that very few countries in Africa have the technology for storing foods and agricultural crops; hence, they must be introduced to cooling systems and drying techniques used to preserve exported goods.