The European market maintains a distinguished position among Egyptian food industry exporters. Despite the harsh competition, it remains one of the most stable markets, and offers the highest prices.

Egyptian companies are interested in increasing their interaction with the European market by expanding their participation in international exhibitions, looking for new customers in countries of the EU, and modernising their maTchines to comply with European standards.

Wael Sharawy, export manager at Nile Agricultural Ind. Co. (AGA), said that European markets are one of the most important markets that Egypt deals with in the export of food industries.

Egyptian food exports to the European market grew by 12% during the first eight months of this year to reach $265m, compared to $233.2m in the same period last year.

Sharawy explained that the company is working in the production of juices and jams of various kinds, and is pursuing to intensify its presence in the EU market through adherence to its standard specifications.

Mango and guava juices are seeing a clear growth in exports to Europe in the last period, particularly concentrates, pointed out the export manager.

He also said that Europe needs products that are low in sugar, unlike Africa which demands high sugar concentrations, hence the company is developing in order to meet the needs of each market separately.

Sharawy called on the local sector to show more interest in packaging according to European standards, to attract more consumers to domestic products.

Europe is more interested in buying food products which are in glass containers and tetra packs, while most Egyptian products are packaged in plastic materials, he pointed out.

He added that the interest in the packaging sector, the supply of production lines according to market needs through injecting more investments and creating a productive environment, will develop into a strong boost and increase the sector’s exports to Europe.

Countries of the EU are considered promising markets for the development of the sector’s exports, especially products such as frozen vegetables and fruits, dried onions, dried vegetables, seeds and fruity fruits, medicinal and aromatic plants, olives, pickles, fruit preparations, molasses, fruit concentrates, and food salt.

Dalia Nabil, export manager at Alex Frost, added that last year the company exported about 1,600 tonnes of vegetables, mostly frozen artichokes, broccoli, and strawberries.

She said that Europe accounts for a good share of the company’s annual exports, adding that they aim to open new markets there, along with its expansion plans in other markets such as East Asia and Mercosur countries.

Nabil noted that the company is also focusing on Russia, being one of the most prominent markets that receives Egyptian food products and frozen vegetables, elaborating that expanding in foreign countries boosts the reputation of the company’s products.

Rabie Abbas, export manager at Herbs Egypt, said that Europe accounts for 28% of the company’s annual exports.

Abbas explained that the company exports about 2,000 tonnes of herbs per annum, and tries to intensify its presence in Europe, especially in Spain and France.

He indicated the need to pay attention to changing the conditions of agriculture in Egypt in order to reduce production costs, therefore enabling the companies to compete internationally and increase their profits.

Increasing profits reflect on expanding businesses domestically as well as on exports, hence, adding value to the economy, remarked Herbs’ export manager.

Presently, the company is in pursuit of increasing its presence in Europe, by visiting several international exhibitions in the coming years, thus meeting more customers, and increasing the volume of new contracts with existing customers, explained Abbas.

Source: Daily News Egypt