By Mahmoud Fouly CAIRO/BEHEIRA,
Egypt, (Xinhua) -- Thanks to
the fast-growing demand in China for quality fruits,
Egypt has witnessed a rapid increase in its citrus
exports to China in the past years, which has led many
Egyptian citrus farms to prosper.
famous for producing sweet juicy oranges, has become the
third largest exporter of citrus to China after South
Africa and the United States.
citrus export to China with over 23,000 tons in the
first year in 2015, which then increased to more than
36,000 tons in 2016 and finally jumped to exceed 101,000
tons in 2017, which is more than three times increase
since we started,” said Mohsen al-Beltagy, chairman of
Egypt’s Horticultural Export Improvement Association (HEIA).
founded in 1996, is in charge of selecting certified
farms and arranging citrus exports to several parts of
the world including European and Asian states in
coordination with concerned agricultural authorities
home and abroad.
the farms and choose the best of them to export to
China, in cooperation with officials from the Chinese
Ministry of Agriculture who visit us here to see the
farms,” Beltagy told Xinhua at his office in Cairo.
holds training programs for Egyptian citrus farmers to
raise the quality of their fruits to be exported to
China, Beltagy said.
economic and commercial counselor at China’s Embassy in
Cairo, noted that Egypt’s orange exports to China hit 20
million U.S. dollars in 2015 and sharply increased to 80
million dollars in 2016.
market is a big, open and highly-competitive. Our
imports from all over the world will reach 10 trillion
dollars in the next five years,” Hang told Xinhua.
He said he
expected to see further increase in the exports of
Egyptian agricultural products to China in the future.
“We help Egyptians improve the quality of products to
reach our import standards and we expect to see more
Egyptian agricultural products in the Chinese market,”
Agriculture (MAFA), one of Egyptian citrus farms
approved for exports to China, exported 2,500 tons of
oranges to the world’s most populous country last year.
a vast reclaimed desert area in the Beheira province to
the north of Cairo, MAFA looked like a piece of art with
its rows and rows of aligned citrus trees bearing
shinning round-shaped golden fruits waiting to be
harvested and sent to the packing facility before
produces from 20 to 25 tons of citrus and we have around
5,500 acres in MAFA. We produce some 100,000 tons per
year, about 90 percent of which is for export and 10
percent for the local market,” said Arafa al-Sheikh,
head of MAFA’s citrus department.
Xinhua that MAFA takes great care of its citrus fruits
from the early stage through well-managed fertilization,
irrigation and chemical treatment.
quality is completely based on biologic resistance, pest
control, and most limited and timely use of approved
pesticides. We take care of the products from beginning
to end,” the engineer said.
MAFA’s spacious packhouse, dozens of workers, all in
white uniform, packed oranges on several conveyors after
they were screened by an electronic sizer that separated
them based on their size, color and defect degree.
MAFA’s general manager, said that MAFA uses Egyptian and
foreign expertise, best post-harvest experts and
advanced technologies to achieve the highest quality of
its products to satisfy its clients.
instance, this is the second year for MAFA to use this
electronic sizer, which detects all defects. The
previous one only classified fruits according to their
color and diameter. This one uses the color, diameter,
size, external defects and everything to separate them,”
he told Xinhua in his office overlooking the packhouse’s
that the company in general employs up to 5,000
full-time and part-time workers, and the number may
increase as MAFA is currently building a packhouse for
grapes to prepare them for exportation.
opposite production lines inside the packhouse, a group
of workers have been packing oranges coming from
conveyors into boxes. Other workers carried the packed
boxes of fruits with forklifts to pile them up at a far
corner of the packhouse to be sent to large coolers in
preparation for shipment.
hygienic and careful work is what makes us number one in
quality,” said Mona Mostafa Hassan, a packing worker in
her early 30s, who has been working for MAFA for eight
“We put on
our uniform every morning and sterilize our hands before
we start working. Our supervisors and our production
managers treat us very well, give us training and train
newcomers as well,” she told Xinhua.
MAFA’s export manager, said that his company exports
citrus to about 53 countries around the world, in a
distribution strategy that diversifies its exports to
offset possible risks of a market decline in certain
exported about 2,500 tons of citrus to China in 2017,
and we plan to increase it up to 3,000 tons in 2018,”
that Chinese importers have the highest demand for
fruits’ quality, even higher than the Europeans, with
specifications including big size, round shape and soft
skin fruits with maximum five percent of minor,
as a very important market with very good potentials for
Egyptian citrus exports. I expect Egypt’s orange exports
to China to gradually increase to higher levels in the
near future,” he told Xinhua.
Based on the
success of citrus exports to China, Egyptian exporters
are now working to increase exports of grapes and dates,
another two local quality fruits, to China to meet the
fast-growing demand there.