Egypt: Onion season kicked off early

Egypt’s onion season has kicked off one month earlier than expected, starting with yellow onions and moving on with the red. For the company Pharaonic Bioherb, at the moment clients are mostly in the Middle East as many European markets still having onions available.  Destinations like Saudi Arabia or the UAE are essential markets for Egypt onions, although “Of course, Russia is now also coming strongly as a result of the ban where achieving export volumes of Egypt onions to Russia of at least 30% along the season compared to last season to be an essential goal,” affirms Export Manager Amr Helmy.

 “For Russia there are basically two types of shipments; supermarket chains go for higher quality, while other traders and wholesalers focusing on moderate quality in shared vessel shipments with potatoes.”

The great focus, however, is still Saudi Arabia, as market conditions are very favourable. “Currently, with the yellow onions, our main clients are supermarkets, like Carrefour, but we are also focusing on suppliers in the wholesale market. Our first container for the current season has just departed and we’ll continue to make two shipments per week.  Previous supplies to Carrefour were over 200 tonnes and this year we should reach at least 400-500 tonnes,” states Amr.

In terms of prices, Amr says that “compared to last year and being an essential commodity in every kitchen I expect prices to remain stable because of the expected increasing demand of Russia, Gulf area and some African countries that favour prices".  Unlike yellow onions which have to compete with the local production and go mostly to Russia, I believe red onions to have good chances in Western Europe and Gulf area this year. In total, we expect to ship 5,000 tonnes to Europe while Saudi Arabia should receive over 1000 tonnes of our red onions.”

Another important point is the rise of organics, for which, according to Amr, there is growing interest from consumers for health reasons. “Our company ships organic red and yellow onions exclusively to the Western European market, mostly to the Netherlands, but also the UK, Germany, Austria and Scandinavia through our partner and sole representative in Europe Gourmet BV (Holland).  I believe Egyptian organic onions will have great quality and very good chances in the coming few months.”
Source: Fresh Plaza
Date published: 06 March 2015