Russian tomato

Egypt’s Agriculture Export Council (AEC) has revealed plans to increase exports to 3.8m tonnes, up from 3.4m tonnes last season.

The AEC’s head of the Rice Committee, Mostafa El-Naggari, who is also chairperson of Egyptian exporter Fresh Fruit Company, stated that the total value of Egyptian produce exports from September 2015 to June 2016 amounted to US$1.9bn, compared with US$1.5bn during the year-earlier period.

He also called for roll-on/roll-off (roro) lines to be established between Egypt and Russia to allow Egyptian exporters to send larger quantities of highly perishable items such as tomatoes during Russia’s continuing ban on EU and US food imports. Roro lines equally benefit from faster speeds and a lack of stops prior to the ultimate destination port, he said.

El-Naggari revealed that demand had surged this year for a number of Egyptian crops, including oranges, onions, strawberries and tomatoes. However, a drop in potato production from 22 tonnes to 13 tonnes per acre had led to a decline in potato exports.

The domestic price of tomatoes had risen, he added, as a result of the increased demand, above all from Russia. Prices are forecast to remain around EGP6-8 (€0.60-0.80) a kilo, twice the usual price, until the arrival of the new crop in October.