Cairo As soon as January comes, the prisoners of Maher Abdul Latif (a farmer and exporter) rejoice, so the month of goodness has begun, bringing with it the abundant production of the orange crop to crown his effort with a measure of satisfaction after the strenuous effort that accompanied him for months in agriculture, and then reaping The crop has been in his field since early morning.
Maher’s condition is not different from that of most of his compatriots in the village of Emey in Qalyubia governorate, which is one of the most orange-producing and cultivating governorates in the country. Perhaps Egyptian cotton was known for its abundance of production during the fifties and sixties until it was called white gold at the time, but with the passage of time and change Cultivation trends Orange became comparable to cotton to be called yellow gold, which filled the fields of many governorates of Egypt’s delta during that period.
Statistics and numbers
Egypt produces large quantities of citrus fruits (including oranges, tangerines and lemons), which is expressed by many statistics that talk about the proceeds of exports, as the latest official figures indicate that the total exports reached 1,871,150 tons from January 2021 until December 8 December 2021, according to a report from the Agricultural Quarantine Authority submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Egypt is among the top 5 citrus exporting countries in the world, competing with Spain and South Africa, according to global reports. The cost of export amounted to 843 million 154 thousand and 859 dollars, according to the latest report issued by the Agricultural Export Council last September. Egypt exports to many markets and countries, most notably Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, China, the Emirates, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Oman and Malaysia, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture in the middle of last year, instead of the high demand from European countries since the outbreak of the Corona epidemic.
On a tour inside one of the farms of the village of Emei, a group of workers appears, and during a very cold weather since the early morning, carrying large gauntlets in front of the orange trees that extend within sight of the village, all working to collect the fruits of oranges in harmony, even if their gauntlets are full, they head to a large transport vehicle to put Oranges out, then return the ball back and genie again.
This is what most of the villagers work in during the season that continues until work on the harvest from the end of December until April.
Alaa is one of those workers interviewed by Al-Jazeera Net. He confirmed that the orange-collecting season is the source of his livelihood and many agricultural workers in Imay and the surrounding villages, pointing out that he woke up after the dawn prayer at five in the morning, and went to the fields with his colleagues in order to start collecting oranges from the trees, which is A process that is not without difficulties, according to his words, especially since the work continues continuously until sunset today throughout the season.
He explained that they are divided into a group that cuts the fruits, another group that carries the flankers, and a group that sorts and packs the oranges, and so on, pointing out that it is not easy as cutting the fruits goes on for hours, but at the same time it is the livelihood of many workers in the village who are all waiting for him from year to year.
On the reasons for the interest in Egyptian oranges in particular, Abdel Latif believes, during his statements to Al Jazeera Net, that the matter is due to the fertility and quality of the soil in the delta and the suitability of climatic conditions, which are the ingredients that make agriculture good and work to distinguish oranges as shape, taste and color, in addition to the attention and care that the crop receives from farmers.
He added, “The harvest season during January becomes a season of joy for the whole village. Everyone here works in the cultivation and production of oranges, starting from the farmer, the merchant, the worker, the driver, and the owner of the transport vehicle.” Because it contains important vitamins, especially vitamin C.
Abdel Latif pointed out that the collection of oranges goes through several stages. After the collection, they are sorted and packaged, then they are taken to export stations for canning and processing for export abroad according to the technical vision of the source, or they are sold in bulk to traders directly.
“Citrus is the first fruit crop in Egypt in terms of its cultivation area, production and importance, as there are more than half a million acres of citrus planted, most of which are concentrated in the delta and valley at a rate of 55 percent of the citrus cultivation area in Egypt,” says Dr. Mohamed Meligy, an agricultural expert in press statements.
Meligi pointed out that in Egypt there is a difference between day and night temperatures, which improves the quality of oranges and other types of citrus fruits, and that is why it is a distinct fruit at the level of the local market or abroad.
He explained that Egypt produces about 4.5 million tons of citrus, including crops of municipal and summer oranges, tangerines and lemons, and they are exported and the rest is consumed locally, stressing that despite Egypt’s superiority in citrus cultivation and exporting abroad, there are some challenges represented in plant diseases, which is something that appears in the Delta. Because of the high level of water in the soil at a time when citrus cultivation needs little water not exceeding 1.5 meters, which exposes the plant to root rot and other diseases, in addition to the fragmentation of agricultural holdings after the death of the owner and the tendency to different cultivations for different acres.
The agricultural expert pointed out that there are countries that surpass Egypt in the production of oranges, but do not export them, such as Brazil, which manufactures more than 73% of its production, which enhances the added value in it economically, while the manufacturing rate in Egypt is 3% and includes what is not exported, stressing that manufacturing can To add more value and reduce wastage or damage, as well as increase the employment of manpower, given the possibility of selling the manufactured product in its final, inexpensive form when exported as a local product with high quality.