HomeNewsEgypt keeps driving USA out of EU sweet potato market

Egypt keeps driving USA out of EU sweet potato market

Egypt will again export record-breaking volumes of sweet potatoes to the EU market. Egyptian sweet potato exporters have raised their sales to the EU-27 at least 14 times since the MY 2022/23, gradually driving their key competitors from this market, reports EastFruit.

In the MY 2017/18, Egypt exported just 5,300 tonnes of sweet potatoes to the EU countries, with the peak registered in August-December. Since then, exports were annually growing by 69% on average and reached 74,200 tonnes in the first 11 months of the MY 2022/23 (July-May). In addition, the period of the Egyptian exports to the EU-27 has extended considerably and now lasts all year round, with the largest volumes still exported in September-March.

Egyptian sweet potato exporters focus mainly on sales on the Netherlands among the EU-27 countries. Although exports to other countries have also been growing, the Netherlands is still the main destination for Egyptian sweet potatoes, and its share varies from 69% to 77% in the total sweet potato exports from Egypt to the EU-27.

Read also: Egypt strengthening its position in the Dutch sweet potato market

Other interesting for Egyptian exporters countries include the south of the EU (Italy, Spain), Scandinavia (Sweden), and the so-called new EU members (Slovenia, Romani, Hungary), etc. France is now the second after the Netherlands most important destination for the Egyptian sweet potato exports among the EU countries. However, France still imports from Egypt just a fifth of the sweet potato volumes exported to the Netherlands.

The EU-27 is one of the major markets for sweet potatoes globally, with imports grown by a third from the MY 2017/18. In the first 11 months of the MY 2022/23 they reached 213,000 tonnes. The Netherlands is the key importer and re-exporter of sweet potatoes in the EU; therefore, it is no surprise that Egyptian exporters focus on trade with the Netherlands in the first instance.

The Netherlands annually accounts for 70-78% of the total sweet potato imports from the non-EU countries in the EU-27. Belgium, France, and Germany are also major importers, but with much lower volumes: 14,000 tonnes, 12,000 tonnes, and 6,000 tonnes, respectively, over the period between July 2022 and May 2023.

The EU-27 imports sweet potatoes mainly from two countries. The USA and Egypt jointly account for 70-84% of the total sweet potato imports from the non-EU countries. However, the share of the USA has been gradually decreasing, and imports from this country have not been growing and vary between 90,000 and 110,000 tonnes annually.

Meanwhile, Egypt has been annually improving its position in the EU market and driving the US suppliers out of it, especially during the peak of its exports. By the way, the same trends are observed in the UK sweet potato market, which was covered by a separate material of EastFruit.

The list of the top-five suppliers of sweet potatoes to the EU-27 also includes China, South Africa, and Honduras. China exports sweet potatoes to the EU almost all year round, but the volumes totaled just 13,000 tonnes in the MY 2021/22. As regards South Africa and Honduras, sweet potatoes from these countries arrive in the EU-27 mainly in spring and summer, and the imports amounted to just 6,000 tonnes and 9,000 tonnes, respectively, in the MY 2021/22.


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