Egypt Exported Dates to 63 Countries in 2020 – Official

Farm workers collect dates during the annual harvest season in Dahshur, Egypt is the world’s largest supplier of dates, contributing 20 percent of the world’s dates, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Giza, Egypt September 23, 2021. (Photo by Fadel Dawod/NurPhoto) (Photo by Fadel Dawod / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP)

Egypt, the world’s largest producer of dates, exported the commodity to 63 foreign markets in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic, a government official has said.

Amjad El-Qadi, the Executive Director of the Food Industries Technology Centre at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, noted that Egypt has pursued a strategy to encourage local cultivation of more internationally demanded date cultivars.

The executive director added that his country’s share in the volume of global dates trade is below four per cent, as date exports from Egypt reached around 43,000 tons in 2020, bringing $43 million in revenues.

The number of countries importing dates from Egypt in 2020 increased, from 50 in 2019.

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Twelve date plants in Egypt joined the list of companies meeting the requirements of the National Food Safety Authority in 2020, and another 12 plants are being considered for inclusion as part of the ministry’s strategy to develop the sector, which includes increasing the cultivation of internationally demanded date varieties. The list includes Egyptian companies authorized to export by Egyptian health authorities.

The low exports of Egyptian dates are due to an unfamiliarity with the cultivars since only two types produced in Egypt are exported – Siwi and Saidi. Both are considered dry cultivars. According to the executive director, the strategy to develop date production incorporates cultivars such as Madjool and Barhi, as well as varieties specific to the Gulf region that can be grown in Egypt.

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It was noted that Egypt has problems with some cultivations, as it happened in the province of Al-Buhaira, which produces non-exportable dates such as Zaghloul and Samani, and some areas still use old-fashioned methods that result in high losses.

According to El-Qadi, all sectors have been affected by the pandemic as many countries have taken restrictive measures, including the food industry, which was also damaged by the closing of stores.

Activities of the first annual date meetings were launched earlier this week in the Egyptian city of Kharga, in the New Valley governorate.

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