The Egyptian grape season has started and Egyptian growers are trying to remain positive after a couple of decimating years. The costs of running the operation have increased significantly, while prices for grapes have not changed for several years. Since growers are choosing to leave the grape business, availability will be lower in the future, and as a result prices for Egyptian grapes will increase.
Islam Ghoneim, CEO of Egyptian grape exporter Cairo Green, states that Egyptian grapes have managed to become more popular over the past decade: “Egyptian grapes has become without a doubt a golden brand across the world due to its supply window, quality enhancements, growers exercise and experience, which has been gained throughout the past years. Moreover, the Egyptian authorities have successfully setup solid regulations and monitoring systems, which ensure growers and exporters to abide to the EU standards and safety requirements.”
However, the past few years have been very rough on Egyptian grape growers. According to Ghoneim so much so, that some have no choice but to quit growing grapes as their main product. “As an Egyptian grape grower and exporter, like many others we are very much concerned about the changes that will occur in the upcoming seasons starting 2023 and so on. Numerous grape growers have already left the business and more are in the exit-pipeline due to the skyrocketing running costs and shrinking profit margins. Later on, local economical instability made the situation even worse, on top of having to deal with the Covid pandemic in 2020.
"Next, we witnessed the post-covid supply chain and logistical suffocation in 2021 and currently the Russian-Ukrainian war. Looking forward it seems like we’re heading into a global financial recession in 2022. With all mentioned above, grapes are still exported with almost the same prices as they were a decade ago, without any compensation for the Egyptian side.”
As more and more Egyptian grape growers either quit or find other markets than Europe, grape availability will go down and prices will have nowhere to go but up, Ghoneim explains: “In the end, things will definitely change in favor of the Egyptian growers. The unfair price mystery is expected to be solved in the coming years, due to plenty of exporters escaping the European markets recently and shifting their shipments towards other continents. They were suffering from unfair prices received from the EU and now due to the past and current events growers will either minimize or exit the grape business altogether, which will directly decrease grapes availability in the future. In turn, importers will have no choice but to accept a fair trade, by compensating prices for growers and exporters, but this will be at the cost of the European end customer’s pocket.”
“I and dozens of growers urge the European retailers and sellers to reach out to the ‘real growers’ and try to minimize middlemen as much as possible, to maintain a steady business operation which will be beneficial and fair to all sides from farm to table.” Ghoneim concludes.