Daltex Corporation’s exports approached EGP 1bn at the end of 2017, with plans to increase them by 15% in 2018.
Hisham El-Naggar, managing director, said that Daltex realised 25% growth in the last season.
He pointed out that the markets where Egyptian companies operate are now becoming more competitive.
He explained that most Egyptian companies export to a limited number of countries, so when new exporters enter these markets, some of them drop their prices below market price to gain a bigger market share.
He said that Russia alone accounts for about 45% of the company’s total exports, compared to 35% from Europe, 13% in Asia, and 7% for Arab countries.
Daltex plans to increase exports to new markets, such as India and China, as they are markets that can absorb Egyptian agricultural crops in the coming period, next to opening in new markets in Vietnam and Cambodia.
He said that the company has some high-value products required in the world market such as peppers, green onions, and strawberries.
He added that Egypt has a distinct position on the map of international exports in agricultural products, after the penetration of new markets such as China, India, Bangladesh, and some other countries outside the European Union, which had been the main market over the past decades.
El-Naggar explained that the African market has not received much attention from the company in the past, despite attempts to export some products to countries such as Togo, Senegal, and Benin.
He added that African markets need companies and institutions with considerable experience in dealing with these emerging markets, to identify and meet the taste and needs of consumers there.
He pointed out that there is a good opportunity in the African markets, and they can import large quantities of Egyptian agricultural products, but would need special arrangements which may take some time.
He explained that the problems of transport and guarantee of risks are the most important obstacles facing Egyptian exports to the markets of the continent, but the opportunities are strong if Egypt overcomes them by creating better river transport. He noted that permanent exhibitions in African countries are a good idea, but they are more appropriate for sectors such as building materials rather than agricultural produce, due to the speed of rotting of products if they are not bought.
El-Naggar said that Daltex is currently eyeing the West Africa region, while it will also focus on Zimbabwe in the south.
In terms of benefiting from the liberalisation of exchange rates, he said that the benefit was only last year.
He explained that 90% of the cost is paid in hard cash for imported goods, such as seeds, fertilisers, and packaging materials. Hence, the prices this year, he added, will be according to the new exchange rate, unlike last year when companies had a stock of raw materials that helped them keep prices unchanged.
He pointed out that citrus fruits and grapes receive the biggest attention in East Asia.
He added that Egypt has dominated 20% of China’s imports of citrus, despite being a new market for Egypt.
Beijing imported over 120,000 tonnes of Egyptian citrus in the third season, up from 7,000 tonnes only in the first season, with expectations of up to 200,000 tonnes this season.
Grape exports to China contributed to boosting Egyptian grape exports by over 200% last season, reaching 99,000 tonnes across all markets.
He pointed out that the company exports 5,000 tonnes to China. “This figure is good now until we get to meet new clients,” he added, noting that the company aims to reach 10,000 tonnes of exports to the Chinese market by the end of the current season.