EGYPT – Egyptian fresh produce market will receive pomegranates of varying sizes during this harvest season due to inconsistent weather patterns between the first and second generations of the fruit.
Pomegranates generally thrive in hot conditions, which has been the case in Egypt for the past two months. The harvest has included fruits of the right size and color.
According to May Salem, an exporter of grapes and pomegranates from Egypt’s FinBi for Land Reclamation and Agriculture Development, the unstable weather conditions during the flowering and fruit set stages will have a significant impact on the size of the first and second generation of pomegranates.
Harvesting the ‘Wonderful’ variety starts late September, so Egypt still has a couple of weeks for the fruits to grow given the late sizing of the second generation.
She revealed the company expects the first-generation fruits to weigh between 600 and 700 grams each and at least 400 tons this year, one-third of which will be large-sized fruits.
She emphasized that they were confident about the high demand for pomegranates, especially with their new market in Hamburg.
“We are receiving a significant number of buyers from the domestic market and the Gulf region, and we are also receiving inquiries from Eastern Europe,” she stated.
Referencing the 2022/23 GIZ training for SMEs in the Food and Agri sector that FinBi took part in, Salem pointed out that Egypt, through collaborations, was able to connect with the Hamburg fresh wholesale market, which is their target market.
Pomegranates do not ripen after they are picked, yet they bruise relatively easily when ripe. This means that many commercial pomegranates are picked slightly under-ripe.
According to Salem, the ‘Wonderful’ variety of the Egyptian pomegranate are shipped immediately after harvest to ensure they remain fresh during export.
The Egyptian pomegranate export sector has adapted its system to address current climate issues, ensuring that ripe fruits are sold immediately.
Instances where harvest quantities are much lower are compensated for with increased prices.
Egypt competes with countries such as Turkey, Israel, and Spain in the pomegranate export market.
“A feature of our ‘Wonderful’ variety is its strong outer skin, meaning it will stay on trees for a good period up to the harvest, and sell it while it’s as fresh as it can be,” added Salem.
A portion of the harvest is also kept in cold storage for the local and export markets until December.
Additionally, Salem informed that Egypt has a coding system for fruits, including pomegranates, and that FinBi applies for it every year.
The Central Administration for Agricultural Quarantine implements a coding system that tracks all Egyptian exported shipments from the farm to the importing country using satellite technology (GPS).
Moreover, it monitors the application of good agricultural practices in export farms.
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