Agro Food for Agricultural Crops aims to export 75,000 tonnes of crops this season, the same quantity exported last season.
Agro Food Chairperson Salah Hegazy said that the company aims to realise the same results of last year, amid the difficulties Egyptian crops faced in the past period in international markets.
He added that the company targeted sales worth EGP 250m last season, which was realised, supported by weak exports of competing markets. This was through exporting 45,000 tonnes of potatoes, 15,000 tonnes of onions, and other crops.
He explained that 50% of the company’s production is organic, so supermarket chains can offer added value.
Agro Food is specialised in root crops, mainly potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, beets, and carrots, that together account for 70% of sales.
The UK accounts for 60% of the company’s annual exports, followed by Russia at 15%, while the remaining percentage is distributed across several other countries.
He pointed out that the company’s production matches the contracts agreed upon with foreign importers.
Hegazy said that foreign markets are open to Egyptian products, noting that the company exports some 2,500 tonnes of potatoes annually, but receives requests of about 10,000 tonnes. “The company cannot meet the total demand due to lack of cultivated lands,” he said.
He added that Egypt’s production of potatoes annually is large, but it does not meet the required quality and international standards, and the company does not risk exporting this.
Hegazy explained that the company gets its production for the domestic market and exports through the cultivation of 5,000 feddans, with plans to double the area to boost annual sales.
He pointed out that Egyptian exports have an opportunity to bring about the process of development in all foreign markets, especially Africa.
He said that competition in the markets of European countries has become very difficult, as all producers around the world focus on it. “Africa is still available for tapping,” he stressed.
Hegazy added that the proximity of distances and cultures are important factors in the invasion of these markets, so these factors should be considered when offering Egyptian crops to increase exports.
He explained that the quality of the Egyptian crops qualifies them to compete in the African market as they do in the European markets and others, but first, they must overcome the problems of transport and guarantees.
Hegazy pointed out that most exports travel to the Netherlands and from the Netherlands to Africa, which is an obstacle to exporters in terms of cost, depriving them of the competitive advantage that they should have.
He added that Arqin border crossing, which connects four African countries, will be one solution to the long-term transport crisis, but it will not be an ideal solution, as it does not connect all countries of the continent, as well as the sensitivity of agricultural crops to the time factor.
Hegazy added that the crops need to be refrigerated, so long transportation hikes the cost and exposes them to damage.
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 transportation issues in the coming period.
One of the most important factors, he explained, in the invasion of African markets is the establishment of advanced economic relations, through participation in agricultural projects on their territory, which strengthens economic and political ties.
Hegazy pointed out that the projects will benefit the two parties, as they will lead to economic development in these countries, and will help Egypt to supply their needs of food at lower prices without the consumption of hard cash.
He said that agriculture is no longer exporting products after harvesting, but it has developed in major countries to reach their industrialisation and benefit from the added value it can offer to the economy.
Hegazy added that industrialisation increases the value of products in the global market, and thus will increase the dollar proceeds coming to Egypt, which can be exploited in the establishment of new projects.
He pointed out that overcoming these problems helps to double the numbers of Egyptian exports of agricultural crops to the continent annually by 50-100%, while now they bring in under $25m.