EGYPT – Egypt’s sweet potato season has officially begun, bringing significant growth and anticipation for this year’s yield.

Martin Oudenes, celebrating six months with My Roots & More, reflects on the journey of marketing sweet potatoes in Europe, which started as a modest test two decades ago and has since expanded into a major industry.

“Sweet potatoes are a healthy product group, still experiencing growth among consumers. I am convinced that those sales can continue to grow even further,” Martin says. His optimism is well-founded, as the demand for sweet potatoes in Europe shows no signs of waning.

Martin recently visited Egypt to meet with grower Shahid Elmalika and assess this year’s produce. “This year, a total acreage increases of 25-30% is expected in Egypt.”

“We will start the Egyptian harvest on a small scale the third week of July but will get more volume in during the following weeks,” he shares.

This significant expansion is set to boost supply from September to March, with a possible extension until May 2025.

The expansion in Egypt comes at a critical time. “We are currently seeing a decline in the volume of old crop sweet potatoes from the United States. Some exporters have already finished shipping to the EU,” Martin notes. This shift opens a window of opportunity for Egyptian growers to fill the gap in the market.

Spain continues to face water issues, leading to a reduced volume of sweet potatoes. “We see less and less volume coming from Spain, also because of the higher volumes and price competition from Egypt. This makes it quite difficult for Spaniards in general to get a good price for the product,” Martin explains.

Additionally, Honduras is expected to reduce its volumes in the coming weeks, further emphasizing Egypt’s growing dominance in the market.

Egypt’s sweet potato exports have gained significant traction, particularly in Europe. In the first half of 2023, Egypt exported 54,090 metric tons of sweet potatoes, making it the sixth largest agricultural export from the country, only trailing citrus fruits, potatoes, onions, grapes, and beans.

The Netherlands has become a key destination for Egyptian sweet potatoes, receiving 42,000 metric tons in 2022, which is 50% of Egypt’s total sweet potato exports.

This orange-fleshed variety, known for its high beta-carotene content, appeals to health-conscious consumers in Europe.

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