The manual identifies the good practices of safety and hygiene procedures of five food products for export to European Union. These products are oranges, grapes, strawberries, potatoes, and artichokes. This is done at all stages of the product marketing circuit (production, harvesting, transport, packaging and export) through the understanding and monitoring of the various stakeholders in agriculture sectors in Egypt. The manual is based on findings from studies conducted along the selected food products to promote the competitiveness of SMEs so that they can better leverage the Europeans Union market opportunities.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Egypt face numerous difficulties in participating in export trade, these include challeges of comforming with sanitary and phitosanitary measures (SPS) of trading partners such as the European Union (EU) in particular.
Since the SPS requirements of partners are not always available to all SMEs (due to their lack of access to information or resources), important work needs to be done to increase awareness on the right processes to meet these requirements. Moreover, information on risks and best practices for products exported also needs to be made more readily available, which will enable SMEs’ to improve their product quality and export potential. It is this context that this User Manual is prepared.
The manual is intended for exporting SMEs as well as Egyptian producers to better understand best practices, regulations and processes, as well as to strengthen their capacity to comply with SPS requirements.
Scope of the Manual
The scope is limited to examining five Egyptian fresh edible fruits and vegetables products that are heavily exported or manifest a high export potential to the EU Market, given its lucrative nature and being highly liberalised.
These are the following:
Edible Fruits: Fresh Oranges, Fresh Grapes and Fresh Strawberries Edible Vegetables: Potatoes and Artichokes
The methodology adopted for this study is uniform across all products and chiefly relies on both primary and secondary data collection methods. It extracts requirements that are necessary for exporters to meet in order to access the EU Market from national and european regulations and other references.
To support desk research findings, a questionnaire was administered to exporters, primarily in the Al-Buhaira Governorate to learn about their agricultural best practices and the challenges they face, especially SMEs, in their everyday operations and in meeting the standards and requirements that are necessary to have access to foreign markets particularly the European Union.
The questionnaire was close ended and aimed to identify the most important requirements for exporting the aforementioned products to the EU as well as to understand the current challenges.
The sample size for obtaining data from the exporters on field ranged from 32 exporters (for strawberry) to 102 exporters (for artichokes). It is important to note that all the questionnaires were administered randomly, thus eliminating the possibility of selection bias.
The data collected uncovered fundamental practical information from exporters pertaining to areas such as product varieties, value- chain, product specific certification and the everyday challenges faced by SMEs.