Egypt-Netherlands Agri-trade proved resilient, but the worst is yet to come.
According to recent trade figures from the first half of 2020 agricultural trade had not been seriously affected. But the economic slowdown and continuing uncertainty about COVID are concerns for the future.
As trade figures of the first half year of 2020 become available, it is clear that agricultural trade between Egypt and the Netherlands has done better than non-agricultural trade. While total exports from the Netherlands to Egypt have gone down 15% from EUR 910 mln. in the first half of 2019 to 769 mln. in the first half of 2020, agricultural exports have grown by 2% from 168 mln. to 171 mln. The same can be seen with imports from Egypt. While total imports declined by 17% from EUR 359 mln. in first two quarters of 2019 to EUR 297 in the same period this year, agricultural imports expanded 5% from EUR 185 mln. to EUR 193 mln.
These figures suggest that people have eat, crops had to be harvested and sold. So agri-business went on and partners delivered on existing deals. In the first half of 2020 Egypt’s exports of fresh fruit and vegetables remained especially buoyant due to the demand for immunity enhancing impact of the vitamins, fiber and minerals fresh produce contain.
The question is however if this will last with the looming global economic crisis resulting from the continuing COVID pandemic. While Egypt’s economy is still expected to modest register growth over 2020 at 3.8% (down from estimates of 6.5%), 2021 is forecasted to see a negative growth at 1.3% (Economist Intelligence Unit).
The important tourism sector remains idle due to corona and global commodity prices for crops such as potatoes and dates are low, leaving commercial farmers uncertain about what to plant and plan for in the coming winter season. With international business travel nearly at a halt, it is nearly impossible to meet new business partners or negotiate new business opportunities.
With the pandemic running its course, agribusiness people are using their innovativeness and entrepreneurship to adjust and adapt. And to look and wait for opportunities to meet and connect to ensure that business can go on and they can contribute to building back better.
Do you have questions on agricultural trade and doing agribusiness between the Netherlands and Egypt please contact: KAI-LNV@minbuza.nl