EGYPT – Egypt in the 2022/23 season (July-June) imported a record low volume of fresh apples over the past five seasons, reports EastFruit.

The devaluation of the Egyptian pound in 2022, which contributed to the opportunities for local exporters in foreign markets, simultaneously had disastrous consequences for imports in the country.

In addition, general food inflation in Egypt further reduced the demand for imported fruits in the Egyptian market, as local consumers switched to cheaper products.

As a result, Egypt lost its role as a leading importer of apples from EU countries at the end of the last season, importing only 163 thousand tonnes of these fruits.

For comparison, a season earlier, EU countries managed to supply 302 thousand tonnes of apples to the Egyptian market, and over the previous four seasons, this figure did not fall below 251 thousand tonnes.

This means that EU apple exports to the Egyptian market fell by almost half compared to last season and were 40% lower than the average for three consecutive seasons since 2018/19.

According to the results of the 2022/23 season, the UK took first place in the import of apples from the EU, purchasing almost 170 thousand tonnes of these fruits. Only the countries of the Middle East imported more apples from the EU than Great Britain.

Meanwhile, Polish exporters who eye the Egyptian market may be forced to look for alternative markets as the Egyptian Central Bank still making import of Polish apples difficult.

Mohamed Marawan, the owner of Polish apple exporter Sarafruit, states there has been no progress with the situation in Egypt.

“We’re currently harvesting our apples. We managed to finish picking all the Gala apples and are starting the harvest of the Golden varieties,” he says.

“Frustratingly, the situation for the upcoming season in terms of being able to export to Egypt is still unchanged. Next week we will start sending some shipments where we are able, but overall, the situation will remain the same as last year, meaning we won’t be able to send our normal volumes to the Egyptian market. We do hope this situation will change and return to normal during this season.”

The standoff goes back to 2022 when the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced that Egyptian banks would no longer accept documentary collections to finance imports. Instead, importers will be required to open letters of credit to import goods.

For all the latest fresh produce industry news updates from Africa, Middle East and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.