Orient Group achieved an increase in exports in the first half (H1) of 2017, reaching EGP 203m, compared to EGP 122m during the same period last year, an increase of 66%.
Hisham Al Masri, chairperson of the board of directors, said the company owns two factories in the local market, the first to pack products of oilseeds, sesame, spices, coriander, and anise, with a total capacity of 100 tonnes per day. The other factory produces paste and date dipping, which enter the manufacturing of confectionery production. This factory has a production capacity of 11,000 tonnes per year.
Al Masri said that the company realised sales in the local market worth EGP 10m last year, with plans to increase the sales this year and boost exports from EGP 200m to EGP 285m.
He added that the company launched an expansion plan, which includes its storage houses and transportation fleet, next to buying new modern packing and packaging machines to raise the quality and shape of the product and compete in foreign and local markets through increasing the number of commercial chains with which it currently deals with at a total investment estimated at EGP 16m.
He explained that the company was close to completion of a new plant on an area of 5,800 sqm in Borg El Arab industrial zone with investments of EGP 32m, up from EGP 23m previously allocated due to the hike in costs.
The plant’s new capacity is 22,000 tonnes per year and is set to open in November.
Al Masri pointed out that the decision of Saudi Arabia and some other countries to prevent the entry of a number of Egyptian crops, including strawberries and pepper, will negatively affect the size and reputation of Egyptian exports, especially if the ban continues. He called on the Egyptian authorities to activate the food safety law and ensure compliance with all requirements starting from the farms through to the trading of commodities.
Saudi Arabia issued a ban on the importation of Egyptian strawberries in July, preceded by the ban on pepper because of pesticide residues. Pepper also faced the same problem in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in April. Sudan also banned the entry of Egyptian agricultural and animal commodities from May.
Al Masri praised the new rules set by the Ministry of Agriculture for exporting companies as a good step to improve the reputation of the Egyptian product. He called on regulators to avoid intransigence and to be overseen by the state so that corrupt employees would not exploit these regulations and force companies to bat bribes to approve shipments.
The chairperson of the board of directors of Orient Group stressed the importance of selecting officials and managers of regulatory bodies to facilitate the functions of exporters and overcome the obstacles due to bureaucracy and intransigence by some leaders.
The Ministry of Agriculture has set 47 new conditions in May to implement the system of examination and follow-up of exports of vegetables and fresh fruit with an aim to solve the problems of exporting and increase Egypt’s access to international markets.
It also announced the response to the requests of foreign countries to control the export system in Egypt, review the ban on the status of Egyptian products in a number of countries, and reduce the residues of pesticides in products, in accordance with international standards of permissible proportions.
Al Masri pointed to the importance of the Russian market for the Egyptian agricultural crops due to its large size and population and being a gate for the Central Asian markets and the countries of the former Soviet Union. He called on the exporting companies to be cautious of some Russian companies that do not pay full dues to Egyptian suppliers.
Orient has two factories: the first one packs oilseed products, sesame, spices, coriander, and anise with a capacity of 100 tonnes per day. The second factory produces paste and date dipping, which enter the manufacture of confectionery production with a capacity of 11,000 tonnes per year.
He noted that the company channels 80% of its production to the local market and 20% to export to several countries including Eastern countries, especially Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Eastern Europe, especially Bulgaria and Romania, besides Morocco and other Arab markets, led by Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and Yemen.
The company aims to open up new markets in Europe and America.
Orient is an Egyptian joint stock company founded in 2004 in Alexandria. The company acts as a major player in the import and export of a wide range of agricultural food products, finished goods and raw materials.
The company has expanded in more than 25 countries worldwide and established liaison offices and subsidiaries in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, South-East Asia, and South Africa.
Orient provides world markets with carefully selected agricultural products, sorted and packaged according to international food laws and primary quality standards through the use of modern management techniques.
The company is engaged in processing products before packaging, besides continuous inspection and quality control of raw materials, components, and finished products.