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Scandals and success: how Egypt breaks records in grape exports to EU in 2023

Egypt achieved a remarkable increase in its fresh table grape exports to the EU countries in 2023, reports EastFruit. However, this success was tainted by scandals involving the illegal use of protected grape varieties in the country. Despite this, the Egyptian products reached a historical record in the EU market for the main supply season in 2023!

From January to October 2023, Egypt exported more than 70 thousand tons of fresh table grapes to the EU. This result was over a third higher than the whole calendar year of 2022, and surpassed the average of the previous five calendar years by 37%!

June was the key month that ensured the record volume of Egyptian exports to the EU, as the Egyptian exporters boosted their sales by 50% compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, the supplies in other months of the main export season (May, July, August, and September) were not as impressive, but still relatively high.

It is also noteworthy that Egypt increased its export volumes to all the major markets in the EU region. For instance, the Egyptian grape exports to the Netherlands grew by 15% to 30 thousand tons per year, and those to Germany soared by 50% to 21 thousand tons. Slovenia surprisingly ranked third among the importing countries for 2023, importing more than 4 thousand tons of products, which was almost a fivefold increase from the previous year. Poland, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, and others were also among the other key buyers of grapes from Egypt.

The EU countries collectively are the world’s largest importer of fresh table grapes, importing 700-800 thousand tons of this product annually from countries outside the European Union. Moreover, in 2021-2022, the import volume to the EU rose significantly. The main importers are the Netherlands and Germany, where most of the Egyptian exports are directed.

At the same time, several other markets contributed to the main increase in imports of grapes from outside the EU. For example, if the import in the Netherlands and Germany grew on average by 20% in 2018-2022, then in such countries as Spain, Czech Republic, Romania, Austria and Ireland, the growth rates ranged from 40% to 90%!

Read also: Beautiful season of citrus fruits in Cairo, Egypt in photos from markets (photo)

The main supplying countries of grapes to the EU are located in the Southern Hemisphere (South Africa, Peru, Chile, Namibia, Brazil). As for the Northern Hemisphere, the main exporters are India, Egypt, Moldova, Turkey, and Morocco. The top five countries account for more than 80% of all imports from outside the European Union.

The main season of imported grapes in the EU begins in November, when the product from Peru enters the market. In December, South Africa joins Peru, and these two countries remain in the import structure until June. The season of imports from India and Chile starts in February and March respectively and lasts until June as well.

Therefore, Egypt faces few competitors in the EU market during its export season (mainly June-July). The supply of local products in the European Union is limited, while the supplies from South Africa, Peru, India and Chile gradually dwindle to zero.

On the other hand, the development of table grape exports from Egypt in recent years has been marred by frequent scandals related to the illegal cultivation and export of protected varieties. In 2022, several acres of vineyards were uprooted by court order in the country, where they illegally grew the variety Early Sweet™. However, this decision was not enough, and in July 2023, a batch of grapes from Egypt of the same variety was destroyed in Italy. In September 2023, the Egyptian authorities announced that they would tighten the system of tracking the origin of the variety.

EastFruit

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