Egypt becomes largest orange exporter by volume

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Egypt becomes largest orange exporter by volume

Egyptian orange production is undergoing a boom in desert regions, establishing the country as the world's top supplier by volume, according to government officials.

Officials in Cairo say Egypt has become the world’s largest exporter of oranges by volume, surpassing rivals Spain and South Africa, though these two countries still make much more in revenue from their orange exports.

Egypt exported almost 1.8m metric tons (MT) of oranges in 2019 scraping to first position just ahead of Spain, according to the International Trade Centre. The exports generated a value of US$660m.

“Global orange consumption has grown and Egypt has been able to capture the increase in the market,” Mohamed Abdel Hady, an orange grower and exporter who heads the Citrus Committee at the Agricultural Export Council, told The Financial Times.

“Egypt has the advantage of a cheap currency which means our prices are competitive. Oranges have made a jump in income for farmers so they are planting more.”

The Egyptian pound fell steeply against the dollar in 2016 as a result of a devaluation that was a condition for an IMF bailout.

Tom Leenheer, commercial director at Van Ooijen Citrus, a Dutch fruit and vegetable wholesalers, was quoted as saaying in recent years he has been “seeing more and more Egyptian oranges on the market. The price/quality [equation] is good.”

It is also noticeable, he adds, that increasing numbers of Egyptian growers were starting their own companies in Holland to trade in orange imports from Egypt. 

Valencia oranges used for juice make up most of Egypt’s exports at around 60 -  70%, according to Abdel Hady. The rest is mainly navel oranges, some of which are planted in the old lands but most still come from the big farms in the desert.

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