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Egyptian food producer plans European expansion

Egypt’s food exports to Europe reached 1.4m tonnes in 2022-23 Pexels/Jack Sparrow
Egypt’s food exports to Europe reached 1.4m tonnes in 2022-23
  • City Farm’s US sales hit $50m
  • Exports 1,300 tonnes a year
  • Egypt’s exports to Europe up 81%

An Egyptian food producer is planning to expand into European markets on the back of a significant rise in US sales.

City Farm, a frozen fruits and vegetables processor, intends to open representative offices in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands first.

CEO Mahmoud Lamei said the plan followed “remarkable success” in the United States and the European drive would begin in markets with large Arab communities.

City Farm’s sales in the US have increased from $28 million in 2021 to about $50 million last year. New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Florida, Texas and Michigan are its biggest markets.

Egypt’s Agricultural Export Council reported that exports to Europe grew by 81 percent during the 2022-23 season.

Lamei said City Farm was expecting its global sales to increase by about 30 percent as a result of the European expansion. 

Its exports include okra, green beans, peas, spinach, falafel, green lentils, grape leaves and molokhia, also known as Egyptian spinach, as well as packaged fruit juices.

The business was founded 60 years ago and owns subsidiaries covering 120 acres of agricultural land in the Menoufia Governorate, north of Cairo. 

Lamei said the company was “seriously considering” buying more land to raise production capacity to serve European markets.

It exports about 1,300 tonnes of produce per year via the ports of Alexandria and Damietta.

Egypt’s exports of crops to European Union countries reached 1.4 million tonnes in 2022-23, compared to 777,000 tonnes in the previous season, according to the Agricultural Export Council.

The value of those exports rose by 42 percent to $917 million. EU countries accounted for 25 percent of global Egyptian food exports.

Citrus fruits were most popular with a value of $211 million through the export of 491,000 tonnes. Next were potatoes (394,000 tonnes at $166 million) and onions (128,000 tonnes at $64 million).

The Netherlands is Egypt’s No 1 customer in the EU, followed by Italy, Greece and Spain.

Agriculture accounts for 11 percent of GDP and employs one in four people, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

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