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Dates: massive increase in demand in Egypt

January 4, 2024 at 4:10 PM , Der AUDITOR
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CAIRO/TUNIS. As the experts at FreshPlaza report, buying interest for Egyptian Medjool dates has skyrocketed - this harbours many opportunities for market players, but also challenges. In Tunisia, premium dates of the Deglet Nour variety are already in short supply.

Orders exceed production

As Egyptian market players explain, demand for the country's high-quality Medjool dates is rising rapidly. Exporter Ramadan Elsayyad told FreshPlaza's experts that orders are now far exceeding his company's production capacity. He reckons that this is mainly due to the good quality of the dates. There is particularly strong buying interest from Turkey, Bangladesh, Russia and Morocco. Elsayyad adds that although prices have already risen this season, they are still competitive on the global market. The price increase is mainly due to higher production costs, and Turkish buyers are increasingly coming to Egypt to purchase their goods directly from the growers. This is also driving up commodity prices.

Opportunities and challenges

According to Elsayyad and FreshPlaza, the Medjool date industry in Egypt is currently undergoing a significant transformation. The sector is becoming increasingly profitable, which is why more and more growers and traders are entering the business, but this also brings disadvantages. Some new entrants have little experience and sometimes leave a negative impression on buyers, and competition is becoming increasingly fierce. It is particularly difficult for small farmers and traders to fulfil the high standards and, above all, to meet the high demand. However, the situation is likely to stabilise over the next few years, as Egypt is aiming to become the world's largest producer of Medjool dates.

Ramadan purchases have begun in Tunisia

In Tunisia, meanwhile, the harvest of Deglet Nour dates has been completed. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that the crop will amount to 328,000 mt, 14% more than last season. However, Tunisian trader Mohamed Akermi told FreshPlaza that the season has reached a turning point, as the high-quality Deglet Nour dates, which are mainly exported to Europe and Morocco, are almost sold out. The weather conditions are unfavourable, making it increasingly difficult to get hold of high-quality produce. The dates that are still available for export are mainly destined for Asian countries. Especially before Ramadan, which begins in March, demand from Muslim countries usually rises sharply, and as longer transport times and customs-related delays have to be planned for, purchases are already starting now, says Akermi. FreshPlaza also states that prices have remained largely stable so far this season, which contributes to a high level of competitiveness.

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