Egypt’s agrifood group Haj Arafa to build US$4m date packaging facility

EGYPT – Egypt’s agrifood group Haj Arafa has announced plans to build a US$4 million date packaging unit next year in the Siwa oasis, west of Egypt.

The announcement was made on November 30 by Mohammed Arafa Al Attar, CEO of the company.

The project will be implemented in collaboration with date producers in the region who will supply it with raw materials.

According to Al Attar, the new facility will provide, among other things, fruit sorting, cleaning and packing services.

The facility is expected to have a thermoforming packaging machine that allows dates to be packed in flexible film or rigid film, automatically.

The firm says that the production of the factory will be mainly reserved for the African and Asian markets.

It should contribute to supporting the ambitions displayed by the local industry, which wishes to increase its export revenues to US$100 million by 2024 against an envelope of around US$40 million in 2021.

The new packaging facility comes as a boost in date production in the country. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) report, Egypt’s annual production of dates surpasses 1.7 million tonnes.

Despite being among the top producers of dates, the country remains largely behind the international fruit trade due to the importance of its domestic consumption, which absorbs more than 80% of the local supply.

To overcome these problems and constraints, the government launched a plan of action that would strengthen the capacity of stakeholders to work with each other to pursue common economic interests.

The project aimed at promoting a model of success for date value chain development in one of the date-producing regions to be replicated by other date-producing regions in the country.

The project also allowed for the enhancement of the capabilities and improvement of the Dates value chain for sustainable production, processing and marketing in Egypt.

In addition, this project also contributed to the identification and conservation of important Date varieties to be implemented in two regions of the country.

As a result, Egypt’s date production in the 2021/22 season recorded a 27% increase from the previous year, according to INC.

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