Cold chain investment opportunities in horticulture in Egypt

The Netherlands has a long history of partnering with Egypt’s agri-business. A recent study on cold chains highlights the potential for further involvement through investment and partnership opportunities towards sustainable agriculture, specifically in the sectors of potatoes and onions.

Cold chain

Agriculture plays a significant role in Egypt's economy, contributing to approximately 11% of the country's GDP and employing 20% of the total workforce. With government initiatives promoting agricultural productivity and food safety, Egypt presents lucrative investment opportunities for Dutch companies. Post-harvest loss (PHL) is a major challenge in Egypt, accounting for up to 55% of overall food loss and waste. At least one-fifth of the crops produced are lost or wasted. Between 20 to 22% of the potatoes production in Egypt was wasted across the supply chain between 2014 and 2018 as well as 43% of tomatoes and 28% of grapes in 2013 with a study reporting up to 50% of tomatoes and 45% of grapes in pre-consumer stages of the value chain in later years. The absence of effective and sustainable post-harvest-to-consumer cold chains is a significant contributor to PHL. By improving access to cold chains, Egypt can reduce food loss, preserve resources, and increase the income of farmers while enhancing its export potential while saving water.

Investment Opportunities:

A report funded by the Netherlands Embassy in collaboration with Chemonics Egypt Consultants and Wageningen University and Research has identified twenty-eight business opportunities in cold chains for horticulture value chains in Egypt. These opportunities have been prioritized based on a multi-dimensional criteria, resulting in the identification of the top ten most promising business opportunities.
The top ten business opportunities include:

  1. Centralized collection centers for farmers and food aggregators
  2. Natural or mechanical ventilation systems for potatoes in dry areas
  3. Multi-crop packhouses for food aggregators
  4. Small multi-purpose packhouses for rural markets
  5. Small-scale reefer trucks for produce transportation
  6. Reefer trucks for large holder farmers, food processors, and exporters
  7. Hydro-cooling units near production sites for large-holder farmers
  8. Evaporative pre-cooling units near production sites for large-holder farmers
  9. Cold storage units near consumption centers for wholesalers
  10. Forced air mobile cooler for small holders (portable)

These business opportunities cover various value chain components and cater to diverse end-users. Investments can be classified as small or large size, with some opportunities requiring local manufacturing in Egypt, while others rely on imported technology. Forward and backward linkages with clients and suppliers vary across the business opportunities.  Investing in cold chains in Egypt offers several benefits, including reduced post-harvest losses and waste, improved food security, and enhanced value chain productivity. By integrating renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions, these cold chains can also enhance climate resilience and profitability. Moreover, investing in cold chains supports the goals of the Egyptian government's initiatives, such as promoting agricultural productivity, food safety, export readiness, and foreign direct investment.

Egypt presents compelling investment opportunities in the area of cold chains, providing Dutch companies with a chance to contribute to improving agricultural practices, reducing post-harvest losses, and enhancing food security. The top ten identified business opportunities offer a diverse range of options, allowing investors to choose according to their preferences and capabilities. Investing in cold chains not only benefits the Egyptian economy but also aligns with sustainable practices and advancements in the agri-food industry. Dutch companies are encouraged to explore these opportunities and initiate future investment engagements based on Egyptian-Dutch co-innovation and co-investment.  

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