EGYPT – Orient Group is set to establish a new factory for dates in Egypt in May to increase production and export volume.

Chairperson of the company Hisham El Masry said that the new factory will be dedicated to mobilizing and sorting dates.

The new factory lies on 5,070sqm in the Borg El Arab industrial zone, with investments of EGP 23m (1.46m) and a capacity of 13,000 tonnes per year.

El Masry told Al Borsa that the company intends to raise production up to 20 tonnes over the course of three years.

He added that the company owns two factories. The first packages edible oils, sesame, spices, and anise, with a capacity of 100 tonnes per day.

The second factory specialises in production of date paste and dips that enter confectionery with an annual production capacity of 11,000 tonnes.

El Masry estimated the company’s exports to stand at around EGP 200m ($12.72m) in 2016, with plans to boost the figure by 75% to reach EGP 350m.

He noted that the company utilises 80% of its production for the domestic market and 20% for foreign markets, including eastern Asian countries, especially Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as South Africa and Eastern Europe, especially Bulgaria and Romania.

It also exports to Morocco and Arab markets, where Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and Yemen take the lead.

He pointed out that the company has plans to enter new markets in Europe and the US as well.

Orient Group is an Egyptian joint stock company founded in 2004.

The company plays a vital role in importing and exporting a wide range of agri-food products.

The company has expanded to more than 25 countries worldwide and has established affiliated contact offices in the US, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, and South Africa.

El Masry said that the flotation led prices of many goods and services to surge by up to 130%.

He explained that the company is keen to import high quality packaging materials that withstand different temperatures to ensure the preservation of the final product.

He added that the flotation also caused confusion for companies, as the prices in contracts changed following the decision.

He further expected the US dollar value to stabilize in the second half of 2017 at a fair price of EGP 12, as estimated by experts.

El Masry said that prices of dates will see increases between 38% and 53% during the month of Ramadan, due to the decreased import capacity following the dollar price hikes, in addition to the restrictions set by the Ministry of Industry and Trade on registering foreign factories.

He predicted the prices of Iraqi and Iranian fresh balah dates—that are the most traded in Egypt—to reach EGP18-20, up from EGP12-13 last year.

He pointed out that Ramadan this year will be in May, which is before the domestic production season starts in August.

He added that Egyptian companies that are exporting agricultural crops are facing a problem with Indonesia, due to the agricultural quarantine that stops exports to Indonesia, as when the latter objected to the specifications of Egyptian citrus.

Orient Trade supplies global markets with selected agricultural products that were sorted and packaged in accordance with international laws and standards of food and safety.

The company processes products before packaging, with constant inspections and quality control.

El Masry noted that the company evaporates active ingredients to ensure maximum cleanliness during the whole process of trading.

February 27, 2017;