Greek peaches and nectarines seeking opportunities in Saudi Arabia
peaches and nectarines seeking opportunities in Saudi Arabia
In an effort to open up new markets for peaches and nectarines affected by the Russian embargo, representatives of Greece's main cooperatives were present in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from Monday 17 November until Thursday 20 November to participate in one of the largest international food fairs in the Arab world, the Foodex Saudi 2014.
Under the new EU agricultural product promotion programmes in Northern Greece, with a total budget of 4 million Euro, Greek producers had the chance to showcase their products to hundreds of visitors. It has been noted, however, that although this could help in alleviating the situation created by the Russian veto, the volumes that could potentially be exported to Saudi Arabia cannot be compared to those that were shipped to the Russian market.
Mr Theodore Xypolias, Consultant to the Office of Economic and Commercial Affairs (ECA) of the Greek Embassy in Saudi Arabia, stated that "ten Greek agricultural cooperatives, mainly devoted to the production of fresh peaches and nectarines, were present. It was the first exploration of the Saudi market and contacts have been established with major supermarket chains, distributors and fresh fruit and vegetable import companies. From these meetings, we have seen that there is interest on the part of the Saudis to import Greek peaches and nectarines."
Mr Nikólaos Sakoúlas, director of the Agricultural Cooperative (DP) "Demeter" of Velventos, states: "We are cautiously optimistic about the results that may arise from these meetings. Peach cultivation has developed in some Arab countries (Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan) and mainly in Turkey. This means that there is a lot of competition from those states that have low production and shipping costs. A container from Greece takes about 7-10 days to reach Jeddah, while our competitors can arrive with refrigerated trucks in 2 to 3 days."
"Another big problem is that even though the quality of Greek peaches is far superior and we are very competitive in terms of prices, peach and nectarine consumption in Saudi Arabia is not very high. The Russian market is not easily replaced. To better understand the difference, the largest supermarket chain in Saudi Arabia wants to import 2-3 containers per day at full season, while Russia imported 15 trucks a day. In any case, our efforts will continue."