MENA's imports of French apples up 16% to over 46,000 tonnes

Saudi Arabia is top market, followed by UAE, Egypt, says industry group

Apples sit in cases at a fruit and vegetables market in Paris September 3, 2014.

Apples sit in cases at a fruit and vegetables market in Paris September 3, 2014.

Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have increased their imports of apples from France, the latest data showed.

A total of 46,386 tonnes of French apples were exported to MENA states from August 2019 to July 2020 season, up from 39,839 tonnes in the previous season, said Interfel, a private association representing businesses in the fresh fruits and vegetables industry in France.

Saudi Arabia emerged as the top market with 12,975 tonnes of imports, followed by the UAE (12,920 tonnes) and Egypt (6,210 tonnes).

“Apple exports have increased by 16.43 percent between August 2019 and July 2020, (compared with 2018 -2019), representing approximately 11 percent of total French apple exports,” the group said.

According to Interfel, apples grown in France appeal to the Middle East market, as they are very healthy and flavourful, thanks to the richness of the soil and favourable climate that the fruits are grown in.

“Also, 65 percent of French apples (over 1,300 growers) are produced in eco-friendly orchards, which has also contributed considerably towards the popularity of French apples,” said Daniel Soares, marketing export manager at Interfel.

“The taste of our produce resonates well with Middle East consumers,” he added.

Apples from France come in different categories, classified by the National Association of Apples and Pears as gourmet, fragrant, balanced, rustic and tonic.

As for popular types, Golden is at the top of the list, representing 35 percent of all the apples grown in France. In the Middle East, the Gala apple is the bestseller due to its sweetness.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Daniel Luiz)

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