CAIRO: Egypt is aiming to grow its agricultural exports to $2.2 billion by September, the end of the current export season, according to Abdel Hamid Demerdash, head of the country’s Agricultural Export Council.
The country’s exports of agricultural crops declined by 2.9 percent year on year during the 2019-2020 export season to $2.16 billion.
Demerdash said that the sector exports to about 140 countries, including 30 new countries over the last two years.
He added that the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult For Egyptian businesses to conduct trade visits abroad or organise business trips into Egypt that would boost the volume of exports.
Despite these problems, the sector was able to achieve growth of 1 to 2 percent compared with pre-pandemic results.
Demerdash said that Egyptian authorities will begin to register all export farms and packaging stations in accordance with a decision by the minister of agriculture.
Saudi Arabia recently ordered that Egyptian fruit and vegetable exports are to be subjected to microbiological analysis, as well as lab tests, in order to detect the potential presence of the hepatitis A virus or pesticide residues.
Once cleared, each shipment will be issued with a conformity certificate.
The agricultural chief said that Egypt reviewed the new Saudi requirements after a delegation from the Kingdom visited Egypt to be briefed on the new measures.
Demerdash added that the Kingdom is one of Egypt’s largest export markets, and measured the value of agricultural and food exports at about $540 million.