Al-Sadat Agro Fruit exports registered $15m worth of revenues last year, with a plan to increase exports by 20% this season.
Haitham Al-Saadani, chairperson of the company, said that it will export 20,000 tonnes of citrus and 10,000 tonnes of mandarin, as well as 15,000 tonnes of potatoes and 15,000 tonnes of onions.
He added that the company plans to set up a new production plant and refrigerators on an area of 10,000 sqm in Sadat City with investments of $4m and a production capacity of 300 tonnes per day, to begin operation next year.
He pointed out that the company currently has no sorting stations and is leasing two stations in Sadat City, and therefore, it will establish a special station to ensure the company’s expansion target in the coming period.
Al-Saadani said that during the past year, the company entered a number of markets including Moscow, Europe, and Asia, in which they plan to expand in the coming period to reach more countries, such as Sri Lanka and India.
He said that the main obstacles faced by exporters in some markets, such as Bangladesh, include fraud by clients, especially as the law there does not allow shipments to be returned after the goods leave the containers. Hence, exporters have to sell at the price of clients.
Al-Saadani called for the need to support the exporting companies and help them to participate in foreign exhibitions, especially as the price for stands at foreign exhibitions is high, while the support provided from the Agriculture Export Council (AEC) is low.
He added that the company is keen to participate in major international exhibitions specialised in the agricultural sector, such as the Fruit Logistica, Hong Kong, and World Food in Moscow exhibitions.
Moreover, he noted that the increased costs following the floatation of the pound curbed Egyptian exports in general, as foreign markets rejected the price increases.
Al-Saadani called on the government to improve the conditions of agriculture to encourage domestic and foreign investment in the sector, which contributes to raising exports, achieving agricultural expansion, and food security for Egypt.
He stressed the need for the EAC to provide information and data on foreign markets, especially new ones, to inform exporters of those markets and products that are required there, especially for small exporters.
Al-Saadani explained that small companies work through personal diligence and continuous research in attempts to connect with importers in foreign markets and create export opportunities for developing their business volume.
He stressed that the company is keen to provide the appropriate temperatures and modern storage methods, to ensure the arrival of products to buyers at high quality, especially perishable products.
Al-Saadani called on authorities concerned with the control of Egyptian exports to facilitate the procedures of the inspection process, which takes a long time, affecting the quality of products and thus the reputation of Egyptian products in foreign markets.
He pointed to the importance of the requirements set by the Ministry of Agriculture to protect the reputation of Egyptian products, especially since any crisis related to any product has strong repercussions on all products and markets.
The company exports various kinds of agricultural products, including oranges, mandarins, lemons, red onions, grapes, pomegranates, and strawberries.