Nivex Agricultural Investment aims to achieve sales this year similar to those of last year, through increasing exports to its traditional markets and some new markets.
Nabil Yacoub, chairperson, said that Nivex Agricultural Investment did not realise its target sales in 2017.
Nivex Agricultural Investment eyed sales of $200m last year, up by 10% from 2016, but only realised $187.2m.
Yacoub explained that last season did not meet the hopes of exporters at the price level, which have greatly decreased, noting that the floatation of the pound did not protect crops, unlike expectations.
He pointed out that the high price of crops in the past season, in parallel with the decline in global prices, incurred high losses in sales considering the quantities produced.
He said that the prices of most crops rose, and with the flotation, companies thought they would achieve more value than the previous year, but the opposite happened, especially with the high quantities that were shipped to foreign markets.
He added that comparing the increase in the value of exports to the quantities reflects a clear gap. “We must assess foreign markets for Egyptian crops first before eyeing targets that we cannot realise,” he said.
Exports of agricultural crops jumped last season by 11% in quantities, compared to 3% only in value, scoring 4.813m tonnes and $2.213bn.
Nivex Agricultural Investment aims to cover the demand from its foreign clients of vegetables without exploring other new markets this year.
Last year, the company was trying to compensate a 10% loss incurred in 2016 due to weakness of competition against other countries’ products as local production costs hiked.
Nivex Agricultural Investment owns about 500 feddans used for agricultural crops. It also leases a similar area of land from the Egyptian Armed Forces to meet demand. The company’s exports reached 90% of total production, while the remaining proportion is sold domestically.
Yacoub said that expectations indicate a relative improvement in exports in 2018, but would require further incentives that help the companies compete abroad.
He pointed out that the decline in exports came in value rather than volumes. “The market is functioning normally, but the value of the currencies themselves is declining and rising in a short time due to the global economic turmoil,” he said.
He added that companies are having trouble raising prices externally, because it is difficult to compete globally against Spain, Morocco, and Israel.
He added that government support for Egyptian exports should change in the coming period and be consistent with international changes, adding that small companies should be considered as a strong export development opportunity.
He explained that the development of the situation of small companies through supporting increases in the number of competitors on the world stage can result in a higher stake of the global market.
He pointed out that major countries and many Arab countries support their products in many ways, where Morocco provides land on usufruct rights for 99 years, next to supporting production inputs and shipping.
Yacoub said that the government should facilitate the procedures for the agriculture sector to better compete on a global level.
He added that the return of tourism to normal conditions will be a boost to Egyptian export products, especially in perishable goods, which sometimes need to be exported to remote areas.
In terms of opening up new markets, Yacoub explained that the African market is a big one, but it needs a realistic plan, amid the presence of a strong competitor such as Senegal.
He pointed out that the opening of new markets is not a simple step, especially in the presence of obstacles in the external market, such as the departments of agricultural quarantine of these markets, which sometimes impose harsh conditions that Egyptian production cannot match.