The Report includes some of the presentations conducted at the Agriculture Conference at the Goetheanum in Dornach/Switzerland 2019. The articles were translated by the Egyptian Biodynamic Association (EBDA/ Demeter Egypt) with the support of Organic Egypt project to make it available for the stakeholder in Egypt.
The Egyptian Biodynamic Association EBDA is a non-governmental organization which is registered with the Egyptian Ministry of Social Affairs. It was established in 1990 with the aim and vision to promote organic and biodynamic agriculture in Egypt. They support farmers to convert to organic and/or biodynamic agriculture, offer training courses in biodynamic/organic agriculture, provide all required services and advice for the farms to be inspected by international auditors, coordinate applied research projects, cooperate with similar international authorities and organizations, provide marketing services to their members, and administrate the private trademark DEMETER for biodynamic products in Egypt. For more information on EBDA, please refer to www.ebdaegypt.org
Organic Egypt is The Project “Organic Egypt” was launched in 2018 for a duration of 6 years to develop and enrich the organic agriculture sector in Egypt. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with the objective to increase the competitiveness of organic growers and processors in Egypt. Organic Egypt is implemented by the German partner “Educational Institute of the Bavarian Industry” (bbw gGmbH) and the “Partner of German Business” (sequa gGmbH).
Egyptians love to start their day with delicious, energy-packed fools and ta’meya. Both are made from fava beans. Fava beans and many of the legumes that we enjoy eating are rich in protein.
Legumes are easy to recognize as their seeds split in two. Some trees and plants like Lucerne are also legumes and are known for their high protein content for animal feed.
Legumes are truly amazing plants. They are healthy for humans and animals, while building soil fertility. Their magic happens where you least expect it – in their roots. Legumes are unique because they partner with nitrogen-fixing soil-living bacteria that allow them to grow such high levels of protein.
When legume seeds germinate, Rhizobium bacteria are activated in the soil. These move towards the sprouting roots and penetrate them. As a result, the legume roots form pale pink nodules in which these bacteria live. The bacteria benefit from this by getting carbon and other nutrients from the plant, and in return provide nitrogen from the air, building soil fertility and the plant protein content.
Because you can not be sure if this bacteria lives in your soil, it is best to inoculate your legume seeds. You can buy inoculants with Rhizobium bacteria at your local agro shop. Each legume has a specific inoculate.
Coat your seeds on the day of sowing. You need a sticky liquid, such as molasses, or a syrup of sugar with water. Don’t use tap water as the chlorine in it can kill the bacteria.
About 4 to 8 weeks later, when your legume plants are flowering, the nodules start to be visible. Having nodules is not a guarantee that the bacteria is fixing nitrogen. You must check the color inside the nodules.
Uproot some plants, and gently wash the soil from the roots and break the nodules to check if they are pink or red inside. This is a good sign that you are getting free nitrogen thanks to the active bacteria.
Good nodulation has long lasting results. Legumes release nitrogen slowly in the soil through their roots and through crop residues left in the field.
The bacteria can survive in the soil for 3 to 5 years, enhancing your future harvest. This is why farmers include legumes in their crop rotations, as they reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.
Growing legumes benefits your soil and your next crop while giving you a nutritious meal full of protein.giving you nutritious meal full of protien.
Next time you enjoy your foul and ta’meya, know that this delicious meal is thanks to a symbiosis between soil dwelling bacteria and a legume plant.
All farmers work with the risk of pest infestations. If they do not pay attention, pests will destroy harvests and leave farmers’ pockets empty. To cut their losses, most farmers buy pesticides, but these also come at a cost to our health and pollutes our land.
Instead of pesticides, there is a way to protect crops naturally by introducing the predator insect of your pest. Predators are insects used in biological control, that do not harm your crops, but instead eat the pests in your field, eliminating infestations with their appetite!
You may have already noticed the lady beetle – she is a fierce predator that feasts on one of farmers common pest problems – aphids. She hunts aphids at all stages of her life cycle.
Even more ferocious is the lacewing- because she eats almost all pests, and keeps eating, even when full. Lacewings can cover a larger radius searching for their food, eating up to 300 aphids per day when still a larva. As an adult, she only feeds on flower nectar, and lays up to 900 more eggs. Other warriors of biological control include Trichogramma, a micro-wasp that lays its eggs into the egg of the pests, so that the pests are eaten alive, and can’t hatch.
Predators are nature’s solution to healthy plants. And today, we can replicate nature genius in a man-made setting, to easily increase predators needed in our farm. Predators allow us as farmers to work with natural solutions instead of spraying chemical pesticides.
You can do this, by purchasing pest predators from a laboratory.
In a biological control laboratory, small teams in simple places multiply predators in large numbers. They start by raising pests as feed for predator, and work to collect predator eggs.
Adult predators are farmed in boxes that re-create the environment which they like to grow and lay thousands of eggs. Because most insects lay their eggs under a leaf, a simple piece of dark fabric offers them a similar environment.
Once the eggs are ready for collection, they are transferred to cards using sticky glue. The cards make it easy to release the predators by hanging them as eggs ready to hatch and invade your plants and trees. Eggs and larvae can also be transported to the field in wood shavings that are sprinkled on top of your plant leaves.
When facing a bad pest infestation, you will decrease time between predators’ release. This guarantees they catch pests in all stages of their life cycle.
Biological control using predators does involve some planning, such as regular trips to the laboratory and releasing them immediately after.