Germany – 87 Egyptian companies working in the food industry sector have participated in the 34th session of the Anuga Exhibition on Saturday.
The Anuga Exhibition opened in the German city of Cologne on Saturday 7 October and lasts through to 11 October, in cooperation with the Egypt Expo & Convention Authority (EECA) and the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce, as well as Concept for Exhibitions and the Commercial Representation Office in Berlin.
“Egyptian companies are looking for new partners with EU countries to increase their exports, which did not achieve an increase during the first half of this year after losing many of their partners in the Arab markets, which accounted for 60-65% of Egyptian companies’ exports,” said Hani Berzi, chairperson of the Food Export Council (FEC).
The exports of the food industries during the first half of 2017 (January to June) amounted to $1.4bn, equivalent to the same period in 2016, according to FEC figures.
At the same time, Egyptian food exports registered a growth to $2.7bn in 2016, up from EGP 2.6bn in 2015.
The food exports to the EU countries have increased by about 11% from 2016.
The German market is ranked first amongst the EU markets, for which Egyptian exports increased between January and June of this year, growing by 16% compared to the same period in 2016.
“Anuga is the biggest food forum in the world,” said Berzi, “yet, it will not be a walk in the park under the current circumstances.”
Moreover, Berzi explained that the flotation of the pound in November 2016 hiked production costs, so Egyptian products were no longer the cheapest, moving the competition away from only the price to include quality. This means that Egyptian companies are forced to work very hard to improve their quality and prove themselves in the market.
“Egyptian companies have to improve their quality to clear the bad image that results from the exports of unregistered companies of bad quality products, which affected most Egyptian products,” Berzi added.
This year’s exhibition is attended by more than 7,189 exhibitors from 108 countries around the world on an area of 284,000 sqm. Some 160,000 visitors will attend, including importers and experts of supermarket chains around the world from 192 countries.
The exhibition is an important forum for producers, investors, distributors, and suppliers from around the world. They represent all key sectors in the various areas of the food industry to compete on the export of food requirements for the European Union and the Arab countries, the Gulf and the Middle East and Asia, where the European market is one of the most important export destinations for most food companies, whether to meet the needs of this market or through re-exports to other markets.
The exhibition will be attended by 68 Egyptian companies from the top food sector companies in Egypt, next to 19 agriculture crops companies. Collectively, they will take an area of 1,340 sqm in the exhibition.
Berzi pointed out that there were more companies that wanted to partake in the exhibition but could not due to the lack of available space and applying late. He said this highlights the importance of the exhibition, in which Egypt has been participating since the 1980s. He added that the exhibition has become more and more important from one year to the next. In addition, Berzi noted that companies that do not exhibit still visit the exhibition and hold meetings with other companies there.
The exhibition is expected to contribute to increasing the Egyptian exports of food industries to the German market and the various European markets, where the previous session in 2015 boosted exports by $24m, according to Berzi.
An important factor, he noted, is that the state prioritised the export incentives programme, which will strengthen competitiveness with other markets such as Turkey.
Yet, he said that incentives should not only be in cash subsidy following exports, but also providing logistical support in shipping and marketing to help companies enter new markets.
The Egyptian pavilion was organised this year on a large scale throughout the exhibition area from entrances and corridors and between the halls to guide to the Egyptian pavilion and through advertisement on TVs spread in train stations and airports. There is also advertisement on many taxis on the streets around the exhibition area, along with the default presence in the brochure of the exhibition, which provides the names of the companies and their contacts. This is next to a number of activities that FEC plans to carry out to attract visitors to the Egyptian pavilion.