Leading Egyptian fresh produce company Pico has predicted that both Russia and Asia could become important markets for its fruit and vegetable exports in the near future, with the firm poised to benefit from Russia’s current freeze on EU and US imports.
Speaking ahead of its participation in two international trade events – Asia Fruit Logistica and World Food Moscow – Pico has expressed its confidence that it can significantly increase exports to both markets.
With the destinations only accounting for less than 10 per cent of Pico’s total global exports, the Cairo-based company believes there is considerable potential for sales growth in both Russia and Asia, and will be targeting this goal with its participation in the trade events.
Pico’s Heike Hagenguth said: “Both markets have huge potential due to the size of their populations and diverse market requirements, especially in Asia.
“There is much room for growth for Egyptian exporters in general and of course Pico.”
Over recent years, Pico has exported a variety of fresh produce to South East Asia and Russia, including well-established products such as strawberries, stonefruit and table grapes, plus relatively new crops for Pico, such as pomegranates, mangoes and avocados.
However, Hagenguth said there remained significant room for export growth to both destinations.
For this reason, Pico will be promoting strawberries and citrus (particularly Navel and Valencia oranges), as well as summer-season stonefruit and grapes to Asia, with a keen eye on India, while Russia will be the focus for salads, leafy vegetables, and winter-season strawberries and citrus.
In the latter market in particular, Hagenguth believes Russia’s current import ban on EU and US products could work in Pico’s favour.
“The import ban could benefit us as Russian companies that used to import from the EU are now seeking alternative suppliers and we have already logged some contracts for the coming winter months,” she said.
“With dropping prices in the EU, it is essential that we seek alternative markets.”
In Asia, Pico’s current largest markets include Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, but Hagenguth said the company was keen to establish exports to India, especially for table grapes and citrus, while it was also seeking strategic alliances to supply Asian markets.
Although there remain some problems for Egyptian exporters to overcome in Asian markets, including the lack of trade agreements or permits with Thailand, China and Japan, fresh produce exports from the country to Asia are accelerating, according to Hagenguth.
“Infrastructure and retail formats in Asia are growing, all major supermarkets are heading to Asia, consumer wealth is growing and economies are growing as well – if this trend keeps going, then Asia will become the destination for fresh produce companies,” she said.
In terms of its own activities, Pico is aiming to do its part to increase exports to the two destinations through its participation in Asia Fruit Logistica and World Food Moscow, while marketing campaigns targeting Russian and Asian importers are also planned.