EGYPT – The commencement of the Egyptian 2024 potato campaign has sparked uncertainty among growers about the harvest’s volumes and subsequent exports.

Accordijng to a recent report by Fresh Plaza divergent opinions among producers add complexity to predicting outcomes, and the local market’s demands will play a pivotal role in determining available export volumes.

Abdelkader Alhabony, a prominent producer of various fresh produce, sheds light on the optimistic side. Alhabony notes the impact of recent government projects reclaiming large desert areas, resulting in increased potato volumes.

He states, “Productivity in these reclaimed areas is higher, with lower pesticide residues. The varied tuber sizes, suitable for export starting from size 55, are abundant, covering popular varieties for both direct consumption and the processing industry.”

Alhabony estimates a production increase of approximately 2.5 million tonnes, citing heightened demand due to adverse climate conditions affecting potato production in Europe.

Contrary to Alhabony’s positive outlook, another Egyptian potato grower paints a different picture. Expressing skepticism, the grower contends, “Despite expanded acreage, volumes may not surpass last season’s figures and could potentially be lower.”

Citing recent frost-induced losses of large potato areas, the grower anticipates a significant price surge amid robust local and international demand.

With Egypt’s daily potato consumption at 5,000 tons, local processing factories are turning to secure their stocks early, potentially leading to a shortage in two months.

A third grower adds a nuanced perspective, stating, “Precise information is lacking at this season stage. Despite a potential 10% increase in acreage, the stability of volumes compared to last season is hinted at by unchanged seed volumes.”

“Expectations for increased export volumes stem from high demand and the devaluation of the Egyptian pound.”

The grower emphasizes the need for official clarification from central authorities who gather and disseminate data.

Awaiting official guidance, Alhabony remains steadfast in his conviction that volumes have indeed risen substantially this season, aligning with the surge in demand.

Meanwhile, a degree of skepticism prevails among other growers, awaiting more definitive information in the coming days.

According to FAOSTAT figures, Egypt recorded a potato production of 6.1 million tons in 2022, with exports accounting for 800 thousand tons.

The evolving scenario adds a layer of complexity to predicting the trajectory of Egypt’s crucial potato market in the current campaign, underscoring the need for accurate and timely information for stakeholders.

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