Sakr Group for Food Industries targets increasing exports to African countries to EGP 20m in 2017 through expanding to new markets.
Ahmed Sakr, chairperson of the company, said that they plan to expand in the African markets in 2017, adding that the high population and population growth of many African countries make them promising for exports.
He called upon the government to interfere in order to overcome the challenges facing Egyptian companies seeking to expand in Africa, especially as the prices of freight and insurance are overvalued.
Turkey and China are the main competitors in African markets, he pointed out.
Sakr asserted the importance of trade representation offices and stressed the need for their market studies.
He noted that Sakr Group exports to several African countries, including Mauritania, Kenya, South Africa, Somalia, and Chad, with plans to expand in more countries, such as Nigeria and Ghana.
The total Egyptian production of cheese triangles amounts to 120,000 tonnes worth EGP 1.5bn, Sakr said, noting that 100,000 tonnes used to be exported to Iraq, which stopped recently.
He pointed out that the company’s exports during the first quarter of this year reached $5m, up by 30% from the same period last year. He added that the company used to channel 50% of its production to exports prior to 2011.
According to him, international exhibitions are opportunities to promote Egyptian products, as many different clients come together in one place, and he urged that Egyptians need to increase their presence.
Sakr also said that the company is aiming to increase its exports to the Arab communities in European countries and America, who favour food manufactured in Arab countries.
He called upon the state to increase its support for participation in global exhibitions in order to stimulate small and medium enterprises and provide them with the opportunity to grow.
He also stressed on the importance of reconsidering the export policies and subsidies, as well as signing new economic agreements to boost exports in all fields. Furthermore, he called upon the government to establish an agency to gather all related agencies and businesspeople together in order to stimulate Egyptian exports through mapping potential markets and establishing marketing centres in those markets.
Turkish companies receive support from their state to expand in exports, he pointed out, which makes them tough competitors in many European and Gulf countries.
Sakr said that the flotation of the Egyptian pound drove up the cost of production, noting that the food industries have been suffering from frequent price hikes of electricity and all production inputs.
He noted that factories are trying to absorb any possible new production cost hikes and not pass the surge onto consumers.
In general, he said that the Egyptian market has huge potential, especially in the field of food processing.
He explained that factories are trying to expand to find new marketing potential after the government passed several decisions limiting imports.
He pointed out that his company is always seeking to improve production and adopt modern technologies to improve the quality of products and offer new ones, so as to take a larger market share.
Sakr said that the flotation forced consumers to look for the best products, rather than spending money on cheaper products with lower quality.
The problem of labour is one of the most important problems facing manufacturers now, he noted, especially amid the lack of attention to technical training.
He explained that the company has seven factories in Borg El Arab, Alexandria, including a cheese triangles and square-cheese factory that contains nine production lines with a capacity of 1.7 tonnes per hour.
Moreover, Sakr noted that the company is the exclusive agent for several international companies in New Zealand, the United States, and Europe, and that the group also owns another company to import and distribute NZMP butter.
In addition, the group is also the main importer of canned tuna and mackerel from Thailand, along with frozen meat and liver from the United States and frozen fish from different countries, such as the United Kingdom, Mauritania, Ireland, and the Netherlands.