Egypt has newly ranked as the biggest exporter of citrus fruits, globally. This is according to the country’s Minister of Agriculture Al-Sayed el-Quseir, on September 10, 2023.
The Minister was unveiling the seminal Sahara Exhibition. The agricultural machinery event will, this year, attract Spain, Germany and China. Spain and China ranked first and third respectively in worldwide citrus exports in 2022.
Though he gave no numerical export statistics at the event, the Minister stated that the country is using events such as Sahara to mechanize and boost citrus productivity.
Data from the first seven months of the year in July 2023, first revealed Egypt as the second top exporter, so far this year.
On July 8, 2023, the government published its initial tally of national exports for 2023. Between January 1 and July 5, 2023, Egypt exported 4.65 million metric tonnes of citrus fruits. This was 718,896 tonnes more than in the first seven months of 2022.
These assertions are heartwarming considering that Egypt ranked eighth in the 2022 global citrus tally. The North African nation exported citrus fruits worth $815,343 million, a drop of 3.9% from the $854,966 million of 2021.
Spain topped South Africa to emerge the export champs for 2022. The news comes in a year when South Africa has been having a tiff with the European Union over black spot disease.
Egypt citrus fruits have cemented their position as the most lucrative agricultural export in a bountiful year. Coming second after citrus include potatoes, onions, grapes, beans and sweet potatoes in descending order of export volumes in 2023.
Agricultural exports are quite important in an agrarian country like Egypt and the government sees improved agricultural shipments as a way to enhance accumulation of “foreign exchange reserves” and fostering economic development.
Popular citrus varieties
So balanced is the season occurrence of the two varieties that farmers are certain to have unremitting supply. While most citrus trees begin their season in the middle of December, that of Valencia variety starts in mid-February.
Tangerines/clementines and lemons also hold a high production place at 10% and 5.8% of export values respectively.
Analysts foresee a growth in citrus production in Egypt by over 30% in the 2022-2023 market year. Besides, the home market is growing. In 2021, Egypt imported $3.3 million worth of citrus fruits from the Middle East and Brazil to tame local demand.