CEO of Light of the Sky company Malak Azmy called on the government to create a new investment fund to provide direct financing for crops facing export issues. The fund would be limited to crops that face obstacles in marketing and production, in addition to helping preserve crops in transit.
In light of the state’s suspension of subsidies for export crops, Azmy cited increased private funding as a key component to ensure quality in the financial shortfall.
In the past, subsidies helped to improve production on farms, as well as crop processing and packaging.
Azmy calls are for larger reform of the agricultural export sector and come as Light of the Sky plans to increase the quantity of goods exported by 10% to a total of 55,000 tonnes, compared to 50,000 tonnes last year.
Crops can often suffer significant damage due to delays in shipment as electric generators used to power refrigerators to preserve fresh vegetables in customs are prohibited.
Azmy pointed to the agreement made during a meeting of the Agricultural Export Council and various exporters at the Customs Authority to allow the ports of Alexandria and Dakheela to introduce electric generators for containers in customs departments.
In another reform measure, Azmy emphasised a need for coordination between Egyptian companies and importers abroad to ensure that both parties received their due, especially as some exporters cannot collect their fees in full. Azmy pointed to the importance of activating a role for trade representation offices by coordinating with those companies.
Azmy further called on the government to supervise the distribution of nitrogenous fertilisers to curtail trading on the informal market. According to Azmy, several agricultural export companies experience difficulties in obtaining their shares of fertilizer. The relative scarcity has caused production costs to appreciate.
In another reforms, Azmy called for a diversification of crops in Egypt and a revision to various government certificates that prove prohibitive to companies in their attempts at oversight.
In this, Azmy said the price of the pesticide certificate required to issue a licence should be lowered. The price of one certificate currently ranges from EGP 800 to EGP 1,000.
The certificate expires within 15 days from the date it is issued, Azmy explained, which does not allow exporters sufficient time to ship a large enough crop yield to meet clients’ needs.
Azmy also asked that the government establish agricultural projects under a participation system with the private sector, which encourages foreign companies to invest in this sector in Egypt.