Page content

Back to list

Launchpad for growth

a woman and a man hold grapes in their hands and smile

Dalia and Awdi Ghassan, Awdi Gardens

On the stand of Ghassan and Dalia Awdi there is hardly any time to catch one’s breath – customers occupy both tables, and there are others waiting to take their place. The day before, the Lebanese ambassador was there to thank them for their work. Together with their uncle, the siblings are the third generation to manage Awdi Gardens, a grape plantation in the Bekaa Valley. “Our grandfather began cultivating table grapes, since when our family has been in the business, but only very locally”, says Ghassan Awdi. “But then we discovered the potential of Lebanese table grapes on the world market, and over the past four years we have exported huge quantities and grown exponentially.“

Table grapes from the Bekaa Valley

The two siblings are US and Brazilian nationals. They studied in the UK and have lived and worked in various countries. “But we decided to invest our money in Lebanon, to continue running the family business, and in doing so to give other young Lebanese people an economic future“, says Dalia Awdi. The Awdis already have 500 around employees, most of them in packing stations, and others on the plantations. They also cooperate with 20 other farms. Against the backdrop of the economic crisis in Lebanon and tensions in the local region it is an important boost – the ambassador had good reason to pay them a visit.

In 2024 Awdi Gardens – or rather their export company ETS Awdi Enterprise – is exhibiting at FRUIT LOGISTICA for the first time. “We are keen to expand on the international stage and sometimes take unusual paths“, says Ghassan Awdi. “Most companies start out exporting to the markets of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), but we have the global markets in our sights. We sell our grapes to Nigeria and Malaysia, and while we have been here have established leads with Canada and the Philippines. We also see a market in Europe, for example for cherries, kiwis and plums.“

Egyptian salad potatoes for Europe

“For us as an international trade fair, the countries from the MENA region are a fascinating market where we can see potential for us“, says Kai Mangelberger, director of FRUIT LOGISTICA. “We welcome the strong increase in participation from this region.”
270 exhibitors from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region) are at FRUIT LOGISTICA this year, occupying a record display area – a good 20 per cent larger than in 2023 and much larger than before the pandemic. Egypt’s displays alone have increased by more than 30 per cent, with 93 exhibitors representing the country. Among them is the Domiatec Agri Group, which is exhibiting at FRUIT LOGISTICA for the first time. “I run our second-generation family business“, explains Ahmed-Sameh El Domiaty. “We are the number one importer of salad potatoes to Egypt. Now is the time for our next move: we have several varieties of quality potatoes, for example salad potatoes and baby potatoes which we export to Europe. We want to expand that branch of the business.”

Superfood dates from Saudi Arabia

The display area occupied by Saudi Arabia has grown significantly too. Eleven exhibitors are displaying their fresh dates and date products under the umbrella of the National Center for Palms & Dates. “Dates are part of our culture, we have 300 varieties in our country, and they are a superfood“, says marketing manager Abdullah F. Alyahya. “Demand is growing especially in Germany.“ However, according to surveys there was growing interest everywhere in Europe too, he said.