The Egyptian grape season has kicked off and many early varieties are already being shipped to the European market. According to one Egyptian exporter, there is high demand for grapes in the African market. The exporter also states that higher prices are caused mostly by increased prices of transport.
According to Abdullah Tharwat, business development manager for Pyramids Agricultural Investment Co., the grape season is a very important one, both internationally as well as locally: “We’re currently dealing with the seasons of peaches and grapes in Egypt. Both are lovely fruits both for Egypt as well as globally. In Egypt, all mothers will not leave a fruit shop without buying grapes or peaches, it’s just a national habit. The grape season in Egypt started early this year because of the weather, companies have already shipped many early varieties to the European market and are now preparing for Sugraone, Flame & Melody varieties. We’ve seen good quality in the large farms, as they give a lot of care to good practice and postharvest treatment.”
Demand has been high in Africa this season, but the most important market for Egyptian grapes remains the European one, Tharwat explains. “The season always starts with a higher price and after three weeks the prices return back to normal. This year we’ve seen a high demand from the African market specifically for grapes, however the European market will always be the biggest target for Egyptian grapes, as the region imports more than 50% of the grape exports from Egypt. The Far East is also a very decent market for our grapes, but not on the scale of the European market. The Russian and GCC markets also take good quantities from us, but prices are up and down in these regions, making the grape purchases more risky for them.”
Increasing grape production is going at a slow, but nevertheless steady rate: “We always measure our grapes in terms of quality, not quantity. If we look at the previous five years regarding growth in the number of grapes in new farms, the growth is relatively small, but a steady growth. This is due to the technical part and postharvest treatment of grapes needing specialization, which takes time,” Tharwat states.
When it comes to the prices of grapes, the prices are mostly high due to the cost of logistics, not the raw material itself. “Prices overall have increased, but this is not due to the price of the grapes themselves, but instead due to the rising costs of transport.”
“All companies pray that the pandemic and lockdowns will end soon and all people become safe. In terms of business, this would mean that restaurants can open again across the world. The lockdowns have always affected the onions and potatoes, so reopening the catering sector would help significantly.” Tharwat concludes.