The Horticultural Export Improvement Association (HEIA) has started negotiations with three new countries to import Egyptian agricultural crops, during the coming seasons.
The Head of HEIA Mohsen El Beltagy, said that they aim to expand in new markets in East Asia starting from the current season and expand in existing markets, after the success in China in the last two season.
Moreover, East Asia is promising and has a great opportunity for Egyptian crops if Egypt can meet its needs according to the specifications demanded by consumers, he said, adding, that the group will focus on the markets of Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong starting from this season as new markets, besides concentrating on the Philippines and China, as well as studying the Taiwan, North and South Korea markets, and Japan.
“The development in the markets in which we are already in need to open more “stone files” will include a group of new crops on the export list, especially, the Canadian market, which can accommodate large quantities of Egyptian crops,” he pointed out.
He said that the HEIA in cooperation with the Agriculture Export Council and the Ministry of Agriculture have been able to open more markets during the past three seasons in front of Egyptian crops.
China was the most important market, which opened its markets to citrus in the season before last, followed by grapes last season and dates from next season.
El Beltagy added that the exports of agricultural crops takes several years to achieve real increases.
China received 5,000 tonnes of citrus in the first season, then up to 100,000 tonnes in the past two seasons from Egypt.
Furthermore, China is currently preparing to send a delegation to follow the Egyptian citrus farms and potatoes and dates production to start receiving the products in the coming seasons by the end of September, which would be a new step in trade between both countries, El Beltagy elaborated, adding, that the presence of agricultural crops in African markets is still weak and does not represent the reality of the Egyptian market, and we must address them in the coming years.
The HEIA is going to hold meetings for the coming period with the COMESA, to get to know the markets more strongly, and then there will be meetings with commercial representation offices to organise promotional missions for Egyptian crops, he highlighted.
He said that the HEIA has already begun talks with South Africa and Kenya over the past period, and has sent many educational missions in many crops, including mangoes, in order to intensify cooperation with Egypt.
At the level of the members of the association, he added that the list of members increases annually on average by 50 new companies, standing at over 700 companies now.
Notably, the volume of exports exported through the companies registered in the association represents about 90% of the total Egyptian exports every season, with plans to add more companies by offering more services, he added.
Exports of agricultural crops increased during the last season ending August 2017 by 11% to reach 4.813m tonnes up from 4.343m tonnes in the previous year.
El Beltagy said that small companies acquire a large share of export proceeds every season, although they export small quantities, but there are more small companies compared to bigger ones.
The HEIA provides a series of lectures to introduce the export markets and how to enter and identify the customers, in the presence of specialized lecturers from the major countries in the field.
Meanwhile, he said that the HEIA organises an event for each crop under the name of “Field Day”, in which they host foreign experts to explain healthy production process for farmers.
El Beltagy added that the HEIA pays particular attention to small and medium companies to attract more economic value in the sector, pushing the market towards new stages of development, adding, that Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong has been held since over 15 years, which makes it one of the largest specialised exhibitions of agricultural crops in the world.
The increasing number of Egyptian companies participating in the exhibition gradually shows its importance for Egyptian agricultural exports, which contributes to the recognition of local companies to new customers to conclude new contracts with them, he further elaborated.
It also allows exporters to learn about the latest technology in agriculture, and how to use it, which allows to raise the quality of products and increase their accessibility to target markets.
El Beltagy said that the allocation of a pavilion to Egyptian companies at the exhibition gives an impression of the importance of the local market, encouraging customers to address Egyptian companies to work with them in the future.