Expansions in glasshouses raises competitiveness of ‘Egyptian pepper’ globally

Rasha Sorour
4 Min Read

Egypt’s expansion of agricultural greenhouses increased the production of pepper and raised its quality and competitiveness abroad. This contributed to stimulating international demand on the Egyptian product, taking exports of last season to about 7,500 tonnes at a value of $5.8m.

Rida Al-Amri, chairman of Luna Verde agricultural crops company, said the state’s trend to rely on greenhouses cultivation would raise the quality of the product, as a result of controlling the environment of agriculture in the product to overcome diseases. These greenhouses are mostly located in Ismailia and Fayoum.

He said Egyptian peppers have a competitive advantage against European products, as they are 25% cheaper than their Spanish and Dutch counterparts and 15% cheaper than Moroccan products. Their low price gives Egypt a chance to double its exports during the coming period.

AEC’s most recent report shows that Saudi Arabia was the top importer of fresh pepper from Egypt in the last season (2018-2019). The quantities reached 2,600 tonnes at a value of $ m, then Russia followed it by 440,00 tonnes at a value of $586,000.

Germany came in third place, with 324,000 tonnes at a value of $506,000, followed by the United Kingdom with 288,000 tonnes at a value of $463,000. Hungary was in fifth place, with about 242,000 tonnes, then Lebanon with about 152,000 tonnes.

Al-Amri pointed out that Italy is also one of the biggest importing countries of fresh pepper, as it received about 75,000 tonnes. Pepper enters the Italian market, and it is then packaged and exported to the rest of Europe for supermarkets there.

He said that Italy has the lowest shipping cost amongst European Union countries and that exports may increase during the coming period. In addition, there are opportunities for the product’s exports during the coming period to Europe and Russia.

He added that his company signed contracts to export about 20 containers this year, compared to 13 containers during last year, in addition to its plan to double exports during the coming years. This coincided with the 30% growth in the volume of the company’s exports during the last season, as the company exported 13 containers, compared to 10 containers.

He pointed out Egyptian pepper’s demand growth during last season, which coincided with the decline in the production of the Netherlands and Spain as a result of climatic changes as well as the wider spread of using greenhouses.

Gamal Shoshan, a pepper farmer, said the demand of the pepper product rose last season. It also witnessed growth in demand during the current season by the European market.

He explained that the production of his farm is exported to Europe and Russia, in addition to Arab countries, which demand big quantities of the product, especially Saudi Arabia.

The size of the pepper crop during last season witnessed an increase in quantities in coincidence with the expansion of areas in different governorates.

Saudi Arabia and Russia were the largest markets that had experienced growth in demand during the past season, due to the nature of these markets, which rely on fresh peppers in most of their food. There is also an increase in demand during the current season.

He pointed out that it is important to make use of the competitive advantage of the product, increase the quantities exported from the product and find new markets for the product and not limit it to its current traditional markets.

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