Published on 29 May 2023

Egyptian strawberries gaining ground in Asia

Cairo displaces Rabat as the leading supplier of frozen berries to China and other markets

Egypt is starting to emerge as a leading supplier of strawberries to Asia. Its frozen strawberries are now increasingly seen in Chinese, Malaysian, and Singapore. Over the past five years, Egypt has asserted its position as the foremost exporter of frozen strawberries to China, witnessing a tenfold increase in exports – from 3,000 tonnes in 2018 to over 31,000 in 2022. Despite China's status as the global leader in strawberry production, it currently falls short of meeting the demand of its processing industry, prompting a rise in imports. As per the International Trade Centre’s database, the value of Egypt's frozen strawberry exports to China surged from around US$5m in 2018 to US$51m in 2022.

In 2018, Morocco was the leading exporter of frozen strawberries to China, shipping 4,700 tonnes, with Egypt following as the second-largest exporter. However, by 2022, the dynamics had changed. Egypt had ascended to the top spot, accounting for 80% of China's total frozen strawberry imports, whereas Morocco's exports had diminished to 1,400 tonnes.

Egyptian strawberries have also made significant inroads into the Malaysian market. In the 2021/22 marketing year, Egypt became Malaysia's top supplier of fresh strawberries, exporting over 740 tonnes. This was almost two and a half times the amount exported five years ago. The trend continued into 2022/23, with Egypt shipping a record 1,000 tonnes in just the first eight months, surpassing the total from the previous year. 

Singapore has also seen substantial growth in its imports of fresh strawberries from Egypt, with the value rising from US$415,000 in 2018 to US$2.7m in 2022. Japan, another substantial Asian importer, brought in US$12.7m worth of frozen strawberries from Egypt in 2022.

In 2021, Egypt ranked as the world's fifth largest strawberry producer, generating 470,000 tonnes, behind China (3.38m tonnes), the US (1.21m tonnes), Turkey (670,000 tonnes), and Mexico (540,000 tonnes). Strawberry farming in Egypt is primarily concentrated in the Nile Delta region. The nation's favourable winter climate, distinctive from many other countries, enables it to cultivate strawberries out-of-season, leading to a high demand for its exports.

However, Egyptian strawberry growers have been met with several challenges recently. The past growing season was particularly troublesome due to extreme weather fluctuations, which placed stress on the fruits. Persistently planting the same strawberry varieties has led to a deterioration in plant quality and susceptibility to diseases and pests, prompting an urgent call for new, hardier varieties. To combat these issues, farmers have had to invest more in irrigation, fertilisation, and disease control, which has resulted in production costs that have almost doubled from the previous year.



Strawberry production costs in Egypt have doubled this year’, HortiDaily, 06 April 2023

Egyptian strawberries: a season to forget’, FreshPlaza, 11 April 2023

Egypt leads in fresh strawberry exports to Malaysia and ranks fifth in South-East Asia’s total imports’, EastFruit, 11 May 2023

Egyptian frozen strawberry exports to China increase 10-fold in 5 years’, EastFruit, 18 May 2023

Egypt strawberries’, Selina Wamucii, Accessed 28 May 2023

Strawberry’, Wikipedia, Accessed 28 May 2023

Trade Map’, International Trade Centre, Accessed 28 May 2023

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