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Things you should know about Egyptian oranges

Egypt is the world's largest exporter of citrus fruits. Egyptian citrus exports surged by 21% in 2023, reaching 1.6 mio tonnes valued at USD 976 mio.
© Sebastian Enrique auf Unsplash

Egypt is the world's leading fresh orange exporter, with Russia, Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, India, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, China, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Oman being the top 10 export destinations for fresh oranges. In addition to oranges, Egypt also grows other citrus fruits such as tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, limes, pomelos, and Balady oranges.


Egyptian citrus exports increased by 21% this year
Egyptian citrus exports surged by 21% in 2023, reaching 1,623,955 tonnes valued at USD 976,556,475 from September 2022 to June 2023. Oranges led the pack, up 22% from the previous season. This boost was attributed to adverse weather conditions affecting competitors in Spain, South Africa, and Morocco, leading to increased demand for Egypt's high-quality citrus. Notably, Spanish imports of Egyptian oranges soared from 25 tonnes to nearly 90,000 tonnes this season. 

Oranges make up 85% of total citrus exports
Egypt stands in a strong position. With citrus cultivation spanning 200,000 ha, oranges dominate, making up 85% of total citrus exports. Growers prefer to cultivate oranges over other fruit types due to their high export demand and value as well as an established supply chain. Egypt's total planted area in oranges is 172,200 hectares, up 4.5% from the prior year, with most of the area planted with oranges being in desert reclaimed lands, which account for 75% of the total area. The increase in production is attributed to optimal weather conditions and temperatures during flowering of the trees, which increased fruit set.


Egypt supplied 93% of the oranges that the EU imported
In the 2022/23 season, the EU's orange imports rose by 22.4%, with a total of 613,597 tons imported from September to April. South Africa led the suppliers, contributing 46.5% of the total. Notably, Egypt provided 39.4% of the total, marking a 40.3% increase from the average, thereby enhancing its market share by 9 points. On the other hand, Morocco's orange supply to the EU witnessed a sharp decline of 68.8%.

Egypt became large supplier of oranges to Southeast Asia
Egypt is intensifying its orange exports to Southeast Asia, becoming the region's largest Northern Hemisphere supplier. Between October 2022 and February 2023, Egypt exported 25,000 tonnes to Southeast Asian countries, marking the highest in five years. Between October 2022 and May 2023 Egypt exported 55,600 tonnes to Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia imports 150,000 to 180,000 tonnes of oranges annually, with South Africa and Egypt contributing about two-thirds. The combined supply from the top five providers can account for up to 96% of the total imports.


Egypt increases orange exports to Brazil 
Egypt is making significant strides in the Brazilian orange market despite Brazil's much higher orange production. Since 2020, Egyptian orange exports to Brazil have surged, reaching 11,800 tonnes in 2022 and maintaining the same volume in the first half of the current year. This growth is noteworthy as Brazil, with a 17 million-tonne orange harvest in 2022, far surpasses Egypt's 3.6 million tonnes of production. However, Brazil primarily processes oranges into juice, creating a fresh fruit demand that Egypt is fulfilling under the Free-Trade Agreement with MERCOSUR, signed in 2017.

Egypt's Fruttella Food Industries is planning to export 1,000 tons of citrus and other fruits to Brazil this year, as an initial step towards entering the Latin American markets, according to the company's president & CEO. This move is encouraged by Brazil's large and promising market, which has the advantage of fewer competitors compared to Arab and European countries, making the long transportation periods to Latin America more appealing for the company.


Egypt intends to increase orange exports to India
Egypt reached record orange exports to India with 40,000 tonnes in the first half of MY 2022/23. Factors boosting exports include a rebound in Egyptian orange production, the Egyptian pound's devaluation, and production issues in India. Disruptions to Ukraine and Russia shipments also drive Egypt to diversify markets. Historically, Egypt dominated orange exports to India, with a peak of 150,000 tonnes in MY 2020/21. Other notable exporters to India include South Africa, the UAE, and Australia.


Egypt to start exporting onions and citrus to the Philippines, Uzbekistan
Since June 2023, Egypt is exporting onions and citrus to the Philippines and Uzbekistan, announced the Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Sayed Al Qusseir. As of August 24, 2022, Egyptian agricultural exports have totaled approximately 4.49 million tons, with major exports including citrus, potatoes, onions, grapes, and sweet potatoes, among others.


Russian market harder to access for Egyptian citrus exporters
Egypt experienced a 20% volume increase of citrus fruits to Russia this season. Yet, challenges accessing the Russian market, which prefers larger citrus sizes and accounts for 30% of Egypt's citrus demand, have emerged. This is due to a shortage of larger citrus sizes in Egypt and disruptions in trade with Russia, with only two active shipping lines between the countries, causing logistical concerns.