Newsletter Volume 12 – january to March 2022

Dear Reader, 

This is the twelfth newsletter of Organic Egypt project. It reviews the first quarter of 2022. This newsletter will illustrate all activities conducted with our partners IDAM and EBDA, and show the status of the implemented pilot projects to foster innovations. 

We hope you are all doing well and hope you enjoy the read!

Stay safe and healthy!


Training on the establishment of apiaries in organic farms

Pollination is needed for plants to reproduce and form seeds, many plants such as oranges, clover, fennel and anise depend on honey bees to form seeds and increase crop yield and quality. A training on this topic was conducted to our partner associations engineers by Eng. Islam Siam, who illustrated the importance of establishing apiaries in organic farms looking on different levels; economic, productive, and medical. He thoroughly explained some aspects related to beekeeping such as the establishing stages of beehives, production needs and rates as well as the good conditions for obtaining organic honey. 

At the end of the training, Eng. Eslam expressed the support schemes that can be provided in the purchase and marketing of products by supporting farmers with five bee hives. The training was a good opportunity for participants to have a better understanding of organic beekeeping and start to study this opportunity for their member farms.

Training on Veterinary for Organic Livestock 

Based on the needs of EBDA staff, a training on organic livestock was conducted in March 2022. The Veterinary consultant Dr. Hana Tarek presented the different types of medicine used for farm animals and how medicine is often pictured in the form of a pill, bottle or tablet. The engineers learned new ways on how to consultan their farmers in veterinary questions, the training was a vivid discussion with the consultant Dr. Hana on problems the engineers face with their farmers. 

Training session on EoL EDU program

The EBDA conducted an EoL Education Training for the agricultural engineers which was facilitated by Amira Badwy. Part of the training were art, basics of geometry and movement courses as well as an insight into the Economy of Love role model - the SEKEM Initiative -. Part of the training were also exercises to learn how to bring the Economy of Love EDU principles to the farmers and workers. 

Training on Carbon footprint certification

A training was conducted to the staff of our partner association EBDA in carbon footprint certification, taking into account global warming and climate change issues and its effect on agriculture. The trainer Thoraya Seada, Project Manager of the Carbon Footprint Center (CFC) at Heliopolis University conducted the one day training. The Heliopolis University, in cooperation with the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT) set up the Carbon Footprint Center (CFC) in 2014 to become active in carbon assessment and CO2 emission reduction projects. Thoraya Seada presented the carbon footprint certificates and explained the carbon cycle, the greenhouse gasses, global warming and climate change and its causes.

In addition, eng. Thoraya discussed the possibilities to save carbon and mitigate climate change “Soil carbon, Afforestation, Composting and Renewable Energy”. She trained the engineers on the different databases that are used on farms to collect carbon credit data. The engineers were engaged along the session and requested eng. Thoraya to schedule a future session to apply the knowledge provided in a practical setting.

Training on Climate Change and its Impact on Agriculture

IDAM organized a two-day training session on the impact of climate change on agriculture for its staff and for EBDA engineers. The training was conducted by trainers from the Climate Change Information Center and Renewable Energy (CCICRE), namely; Dr. Belal Ali, Dr. Essam Hamad and Dr. Ahmed Hamed. Who Started by introducing the concept of climate change and key symptoms through concrete examples that occurred in Egypt (Heatwaves, frost, floods, disease outbreaks, etc.) and their impact on agricultural production. Over the 2 days, many related topics were discussed, starting by explaining the main reasons behind global warming and its consequences, followed by concepts of mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and how they can be ensured through agricultural practices and strategies. Going through the early detection and warning methodology and existing unit and its importance to mitigate the climatic adverse for agriculture. 


Students Competition to develop simple organic agricultural technical manuals

Organic Egypt in cooperation with the Faculty of Organic Agriculture - Heliopolis University launched a competition for students to develop manuals which will be evaluated by a committee of experts in the field.

The idea is to develop organic agricultural technical manuals in Arabic and simple language for the members of our partner associations and to encourage the spread of organic agriculture among farmers. At the same time, this competition gives the students the opportunity to learn and participate in raising awareness for organic agriculture and produce valuable manuals that will be disseminated through our partners. 

To know more:

Recipe Videos

Our strategic partner “RDNA food community” is now campaigning for Organic vs Conventional produce, creating lots of content for raising awareness and creating recipe videos for consumers and other interested parties. The videos include organic meat from an EBDA partner farm, and other organic and clean products. Through the recipe videos, the demand for organic and natural products will also be increased and consumers get more engaged with the food they consume. The idea of these recipes is for consumers to have an easy time trying new ingredients or familiar ingredients in a new way. The posting of each video includes the ingredients it was prepared with as well as the way of preparation so that consumers can easily repeat the recipe at home. So far, four videos about organic meat and organic peanut butter have been created and can be found on the social media platforms of RDNA and Organic Egypt.

Watch here:


Organic Egypt supports the piloting of new innovative services that the partner associations - based on the needs of their members- want to offer. Also existing services are further developed and adapted. 

The new services range from supplying the farmers with good quality organic agricultural inputs and teaching the farmers how to do their own organic fertilizers and pest control, as this is one of the major problems the farmers face; finding organic agricultural production inputs in good quality, to new approaches for the developed and implemented of alternative certification systems to make certification more easy and accessible. Some of the pilot projects related to alternative certification systems and a research project that are tested and implemented are listed below:

Implementation of a “Demeter PGS” system in Egypt

A Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) is a quality assurance initiative that is locally relevant, emphasizing the participation of stakeholders, including producers and consumers and operates outside the frame of third-party certification. In PGS, farmers are co-owners of the guaranteed system and are therefore involved in the design and verification process. PGS is designed for the local market and cannot replace third party certification as a criterion for world trade. But it improves market access and income through reduced costs and increases access to quality products to local consumers. Also, in case PGS certified producers decide to target the export market, they will find themselves better prepared to manage the required documentation systems and compliance to standards.

Acknowledging the potential benefits PGS can provide for Egyptian farmers, a first-of-its-kind initiative in Egypt was established by the EBDA association and the Center of Organic Agriculture in Egypt (COAE) aiming to implement a “Demeter PGS” system in Egypt, representing a starting point for the mission to spread this new PGS concept worldwide. Demeter PGS in Egypt was shortly introduced after the Biodynamic Federation Demeter International (BFDI) has launched this concept as a new scope.

The initiative targets around 1500 local small-scale producers in all governorates in Egypt. Starting with the three governorates of Minia, Behera and Beni Suif as a pilot group. These pilot groups consist of 300 farmers which is a good trial size to fully assess the process and to gain extensive feedback from participants, thus allowing for appropriate interventions and improvements going forward with the rest of the governorates. The kick-off event for the PGS system was held in January 2022 in Minia city.

A peer review team of 6 farmers was internally chosen who will now perform the audits. For the first audit in Minia done in March 2022, the peer review team was accompanied by the COAE and EBDA team to support and teach them the process of auditing. In 18 days, the peer review team managed to visit around 120 farmers for a first initial audit. In May 2022, the second governorate Beni Suef will be audited with the lessons learned from Minia followed by Behera governorate.

Green Manure

Using green manure is an internationally accepted practice to improve agricultural soils. The main idea is to cover the soil with living plants; through their roots they add organic matter to the soil and create a protected environment for soil organisms and the soil foodweb. Green manure crops are seeded after a cash crop in order to cover the soil until the next cash crop is cultivated. EBDA is conducting a field research, using green manure on a EBDA member’s farm in the western desert in Egypt. Through identifying seeding date and planting density, doing regular chemical and microbiological soil analysis; the farmers can be provided with the necessary recommendations to adopt a green manure system. The trial is set for one year and will showcase the potential of increasing soil organic matter with green manure.

EOL upscaling

The Economy of Love Standard was successfully developed and launched in the previous year 2021. During that year, not only the EoL Standard criteria was developed, but also the impacTrace tool on the webpage and the EoL Education program was designed in order to support the holistic approach of the four dimensions; ecology, economy, social and cultural. With the impacTrace tool, customers can see the impact that their purchase has on the environment and people’s lives. The next step now is to apply the gained experience, adapt the standard accordingly and design the up-scaling process. Through reaching more farmers with the EoL principles, EBDA’s impact on farmer livelihoods and well-being can be sustainably influenced. EBDA aims to shift from the piloting phase towards a more mature level approaching many more farmers and companies in Egypt. In order to reach a stage where many more farmers and parties can engage in, the basic infrastructure has to be prepared. Therefore the impacTrace needs to be redesigned to be used as a simple application, also the ISO 17067 needs to be applied in order to achieve global recognition through other certification schemes. The development and need to upscale the EoL standard is a reaction to the current trends of the organic market worldwide, which is seeking higher values and standards within the organic supply chain.


Awareness raising campaigns for Organic Agriculture

In 2020 and 2021, EBDA was supported by Organic Egypt project to conduct awareness raising campaigns for farmers all over the country. In total, 7 campaigns were conducted and approximately 450 new members were gained in the EBDA association! 

This year 2022, EBDA in cooperation with the Integral Development Action of Minia (IDAM), and the Ebdaa Benafsak Association in Beni Suef will continue with the Awareness raising campaigns for Organic Agriculture. The project Organic Egypt supports these campaigns that aim to show the viability of organic farming as a sustainable way of preserving the value of local products and improving the local socio-economic situation. The objectives of the campaign are to introduce and familiarize farmers with the principles and aspects of organic agriculture through different study cases and expert inputs. The campaign is planned to be hosting a series of 6 sessions that are planned to be conducted from January till June 2022.

In January 2022, the first campaign was conducted in Minia, where 36 very interested farmers attended. In March 2022, the second campaign was conducted in Beni Suef where 67 farmers, mostly female farmers attended the session. Throughout the awareness campaign, EBDA is planning to support IDAM and Ebda Benafsak associations by reaching out to 200 farmers in Bani Suif and 200 farmers of Al Minya to promote organic agriculture practices. From the expected 400 campaign participants, it is aimed to onboard around 60% onto the EBDA Association. After verifying the new applications, the association will schedule a first farm visit where the validation of the new membership will be finalized. After completing the process, the two associations including the new signed farming members will benefit from EBDA’s services provided. The associations’s extension engineers will guide them with all steps to convert from conventional to organic agriculture including biofertilizers, pesticides and also marketing services.   

RDNA participation in Awareness Events - Miss Xmas Basket Bazaar

RDNA participated in the awareness Event - Miss Xmas Basket Bazaar that ran for a course of 20 days from Monday 20th of December until Saturday 8th of January in Cairo Festival City in East Cairo which was one of a kind! RDNA chose to participate in this event as a way to reach consumers who are looking for healthy food options and are interested in organic products. 

Miss Basket Xmas Bazar is a network and platform organizing different markets, bazaars and events for a broad follower base. The philosophy of RDNA as well as its products were explained. Visitors were also encouraged and assisted in downloading the RDNA app and placing their order. Customers did tastings of some products, mainly organic vegetables, fruits and organic meat from EBDA members farms.

Miss Basket Xmas Bazar is a network and platform organizing different markets, bazaars and events for a broad follower base. The philosophy of RDNA as well as its products were explained. Visitors were also encouraged and assisted in downloading the RDNA app and placing their order. Customers did tastings of some products, mainly organic vegetables, fruits and organic meat from EBDA members farms.

Farmers and Processors Market

Organic Egypt in cooperation with the RDNA food community implements Farmers and Processors Markets on a monthly basis in an open space at KMT house, Maadi in Cairo. In January, the Market was accompanied by the launch for the “Honest Farmer Guide” by Tayyib Society, which developed a guide that includes a list of farms around Cairo and transparently provides their farming practices. The guide also includes the SEKEM farm, which is a member of EBDA and practices biodynamic agriculture. Organic Egypt also introduced its project and work and provided a free catering menu to all participants, cooked with ingredients purchased from the farmers that are mentioned in the guide to enhance the experience and provide consumers with the opportunity to taste the organic and clean produce.

In March, the Market celebrated the “Artichoke Harvest Season” where 10 vendors sold their products. KMT house tables, the cafe in KMT house, offered a unique artichoke menu for the day with all ingredients from EBDA farms: artichokes, meat, chicken as well as vegetables. Consumers had the opportunity to taste artichokes in different dishes and get curious about experimenting in their own kitchens.

Consumer Excursions

The excursions supported by RDNA and Organic Egypt are designed to bring consumers closer to farmers and producers. Consumers have the chance to increase their understanding and awareness of what it really means to farm or produce food. In February an excursion was conducted to Makkar Farms. 20 persons attended this one day trip. There was a tour around the hydroponics greenhouses with explanations of how the system works and how it is cleaner than conventional farming.

In addition, a lunch was prepared with Makkar products for all participants. In March, an excursion was conducted to the SEKEM Farm, one of EBDA’s member farms in Sharqia, Cairo. 15 persons attended this one day trip; they got a farm tour and a light vegetarian farm lunch. The highlight of the day was picking green peas and other crops such as red cabbage from the fields. 

Rdna Activities for Healthy Eating

In the collaboration framework of RDNA and Organic Egypt awareness raising campaigns, a plan was designed to organize different activities for healthy eating. In order to encourage consumers to eat healthy, RDNA will use different activities to engage consumers like cooking sessions, presentations of experts, arts classes related to the topic of nourishing, wholesome and local healthy eating. The first Awareness session took place in March, to discuss the topic of conventional vs. organic poultry with a focus on chicken in small scale production, there were around 10 participants. The Expert Dr. Hassan Awny, a professor of animal husbandry at the faculty of Agriculture at Cairo University presented this topic. The purpose of his talk was to shed light on conventional poultry raising and how this deteriorates the environment as well as our health: “how cheap is cheap chicken really”. 


Visit to Habiba Organic Farm in Nuweiba, Sinai, Egypt

Maged El Said and his wife Lorena El Said started Habiba Ecolodge in 1994, they were both working in the touristic field and had built this Ecolodge to receive tourists.

In 2007 they established the Habiba Organic Farm as they wanted to do something for the community and the region in Nuweiba. They pioneered the term “Agro Tourism” in Sinai and built a reputation as one of the first WWOOFing farms in Egypt, receiving volunteers not only from Egypt but from all over the world to work on their farm.  

Lorena El Said started a learning center for the kinds of the village to give them a chance to learn through practical, playful exercises after their regular school time. The learning center includes gardening, art sessions, english and many more topics. In 2021, Habiba Organic Farm started supplying RDNA Stores in Cairo to sell their products. Mainly dried herbs and vegetables, as fresh produce is not feasible due to the long drive between Nuweiba and Cairo. Maged El Said, his wife and their two sons organize and conduct training and workshops in organic farming practices for their neighboring farms. Now they work with around 75 farms on around 800 feddan in Nuweiba. They are still in need for training in organic farming practices, especially compostaing and organic pest control for the farmers of the community. 

Visit to Jesuit Association in Minia and Aswan

IDAM arranged a meeting with the Jesuit et frères association and Organic Egypt project team in Minia in January 2022 to introduce the work of Jesuit in Aswan. Jesuit started working in Aswan in Nasr El Nouba, which has 44 villages, 8 years ago with a Swiss project to improve the irrigation system there. In a period of 4 years, they established 14 irrigation unions with 50 farmers in each union. Every irrigation union has a management team that consists of 7 elected farmers from within the system union. The system helped the farmers to organize the irrigation for their land as well as preserving the land scale. Jesuit was interested to meet Organic Egypt and discuss possible cooperation with their irrigation union farmers in Awan. Based on that meeting, all stakeholders decided to visit Nasr El Nouba in Aswan to assess the situation there. A visit was conducted in March 2022 with representatives from IDAM, EBDA, and Organic Egypt to meet all employees of the Jesuit office in Aswan and visit the irrigation unions as well as agricultural associations representatives from different villages in Nasr El Nouba.

During the three days visit, EBDA representatives introduced organic and contractual farming to the farmers of the unions and explained their work with their members. The farmers of the irrigation unions did a field visit to the farmers that EBDA has been working with in Wadi El Nokra since 2020 to exchange knowledge and to share their success stories. The farmers of the Jesuit were very interested and asked many questions about the cultivation steps of organic practices and how to market the products. Some farmers showed their interest to start cultivating a trial area this summer season. Follow up meetings will be conducted during the coming months and discuss the cooperation in more details.