El Waha for Dates Industries targets to increase its sales by 15% this year to reach 5,750 tonnes, compared to 5,000 tonnes last year.
Chairperson of El Waha for Dates Industries Sayed Ammar said that his company achieved sales of $5m last year, and they target to increase their sales significantly this year.
The company’s production capacity amounts to 5,000 tonnes per year, of which about 95% are directed to overseas markets.
He added that the company seeks to increase its exports in the existing markets, rather than expanding into new markets.
Morocco acquires about 50% of El Waha’s exports, followed by Indonesia with 40%, and Malaysia with 10%.
Ammar pointed out that the flotation of the pound reflected positively on his company, and contributed to the increase in exports value.
He added that the flotation also contributed to increase the competitiveness of Egyptian products in foreign countries, as it allows the company to present attractive offers to its customers, noting that it also requires the stability of local currency rates at banks.
Ammar said that the dates market is promising and that local companies try to increase their annual exports, so as to acquire a larger market share abroad, but there are many obstacles.
He explained that, despite the flotation of the pound, the local industry still needs to develop before it can compete globally.
Ammar said that his company cannot increase its annual production significantly due to local market fluctuations, which affect the production cost.
Ammar noted that the prices of raw materials change continuously and vary from one place to another based on supply and demand, which makes the cost vary respectively.
Ammar demanded that exports be examined in factories, rather than in ports, so that companies can export their goods to their foreign customers on time and avoid delay penalties.
He noted that the charging of goods in ports and customs procedures take a long time, since there are some obstacles in the procedures of ports.
He added that Indonesia receives its imports of Egyptian dates through Jakarta’s main port, but last year they requested El Waha to examine their own goods to ensure the dates are free of heavy metals and pesticide.
Ammar explained that the examination comes to exclude low-quality dates, which affect consumer tastes, asserting that Egyptian dates are organic and do not rely on any pesticides.
He pointed out that Indonesian importers of dates request their needs of dates 90 days before Ramadan in order to receive the shipments after 60 days of request and distribute the dates in the market two weeks before Ramadan, which makes Egyptian companies committed to a specific schedule to avoid losing their customers.
Ammar added that some exporters demanded to obtain special export certificates, but the authorities took a long time to grant the certificates to the companies, ultimately causing big losses to exporters.
He explained that Indonesia has demanded only two items in the export certificate, including high quality and nutrition, but Egyptian officials added more unnecessary items that were objected by the examination entities in Jakarta. Eventually, the exporters managed to solve the problem.
Some exporters received their certificates after 15 days of the shipment of goods, which forced many exporters to send their shipments to different markets such as Ethiopia, incurring large losses.
Ammar pointed out that this crisis has led to the decline of exports to Indonesia by 50% in the last year, though they were directed to other countries.
Egypt ranked the first globally in dates production with 1.4m tonnes, and the seventh in dates export with 40,000 tonnes annually worth $250m, according to the Ministry of Industry.