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How Egypt emerged within a few years on the world carrot map

The Egyptian carrot season is progressing smoothly and expected to end later than usual. It's been a wonderful season, with high quality and quantity.
06.06.24 | Source: Fresh Plaza

The Egyptian carrot season is progressing smoothly and is expected to end later than usual. According to Walid Sallam, Export Manager at Suez Canal Trade & Agricultural Development S.A.E, 'It's been a wonderful season, with high quality and high quantities. The competition has been to our advantage, with lower prices and better quality. Some farms have not yet harvested, which will allow us to extend the season past June.

This year, with the extension of the season, marks a milestone in the development of the carrot industry in Egypt, enthuses Walid. He says, 'We still have high quality crops and good arrivals at reasonable prices thanks to our understanding of the growing process and continuous improvement in handling and packaging techniques.'

For yes, the carrot industry is new to Egypt. Egypt has become a competitive country in the carrot sector in just a few years, and only really emerged on the world carrot map last season, according to Walid. He explains: 'A few years ago, the carrot industry in Egypt was not visible. Carrots were not an attractive crop for export, because they were planted in limited and separate areas for local fresh consumption. There was no investment in the necessary planting, harvesting, and packaging technologies.'

The development of the carrot sector began with the success of Egyptian exporters in exporting high-quality frozen strawberries in large quantities. This success was followed by the freezing of other products, such as vegetable mixes. Carrots were mixed with broccoli and cauliflower in sliced plastic bags for bulk consumption and retail sales. This type of mixed packaging has led to a growing demand for carrots, continues Walid.

Gradually, carrot growers began to expand their cultivation area and look for new varieties year after year. Our company, Suez Canal Trade & Agricultural Development, was one of the first to import new carrot varieties from the Netherlands and France. We carried out experimental planting programs on our farms to select varieties suited to the Egyptian climate. From all the varieties tested, our team selected the Presto and Maestro varieties, and we began distributing them to our grower partners in a vast growing area, up to 30% of the total acreage of carrots in Egypt'.

The sector then developed rapidly in Egypt thanks to unexpected demand. Walid explains: 'This sector has developed solidly by designing adapted pesticide and fertilizer programs that correspond to world demand in terms of MRLs. The arrival of fresh Egyptian carrots coincided with the energy crisis in Europe. Egyptian exporters were surprised by the strong demand for fresh Egyptian carrots, particularly from the UK and Romania. This strong demand attracted the attention of Egyptian growers, who jumped on the bandwagon year after year.

Egypt has found its place on the international carrot map in such a short space of time because of the energy crisis in Europe, but also because of the difficulty of growing and preserving this crop, hence the small number of competing origins. Walid explains: 'Exporting fresh carrots is no easy task because the crop is so sensitive. Special care has to be taken, from planting to keeping the farm free of nematodes and other diseases, using a designated Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, and complying with Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) that meet all the requirements of the import markets.