Egypt’s expandion of land devote3d to citrus is destabilising the European export market, and threatening Spain’s dominance as an exporter.
Egyptian exports have risen by 66 per cent in the last five year. This is set to accelerate in the coming decade due to government plans to transform more than 200,000ha of desert south of the Nile into irrigated farmland.
A total of 36 producers and exporters have put in bids following the opening of the auction process for the first 210,000ha of land.
The declared aim of the Plan is to solve Egypt’s food deficit; the new land was originally destined for the production of maize and wheat. The premium derived from high-value horticultural exports such as citrus has led to large producers taking over the project.