Newsletter Volume 15 – August 2022

Dear Reader, 

This is the fifteenth newsletter of Organic Egypt project.  It reviews our activities in August 2022 and illustrates all interventions conducted with our partners IDAM and Demeter Egypt (EBDA).

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

Stay safe and healthy!

TRAININGS AND WORKSHOPS FOR PARTNER ASSOCIATIONS

Training on Biodiversity

This one day training was conducted by Dr. Saber Hendawy who began the first session by defining biodiversity and that it describes the great variety of life on Earth. Dr. Saber continued by explaining the human activities that are putting many species in danger of going extinct and endangering the planet's incredible biodiversity. Intercropping and agroforestry farming were discussed as a solution on how to encourage biodiversity and assist farmers and the environment.

Training on ERP Next program

The definition of carbon credits, indicators, and a practical data entry exercise were covered on this one day training with Eng. Thoraya Saeda. She began by highlighting the significance of carbon credits and how they would benefit farmers financially and environmentally. The second session was a practical session, covering the challenges the engineers face while putting the data in the ERPNext software. 

Training on the principles of organic agriculture

The consultant, Dr. Hassan Aboubakr conducted a training session for our partner associations Demeter Egypt (EBDA) and IDAM, about the principles of organic and biodynamic agriculture. The sustainable development concepts, agroecology and the relation between agriculture and climate change were discussed during the training. Dr. Hassan presented the history of agriculture and the alternative agricultural systems. Practical activities were conducted during all sessions, to emphasize what was explained. E.g., the engineers were divided into groups to collect soil samples from different places; the samples were analyzed and conclusions were drawn to the soil living ecosystem, the soil fertility and the soil formation and structure. The overall goal of the training was to give the engineers a common understanding of the challenges the world has and how to best consult the farmers who want to convert to organic and biodynamic agriculture. 

Announcement of the winners of Grow Organic competition

The Social Initiative Forum (SIF) is a monthly event, held at Heliopolis University in order to network and support sustainable social initiatives. The SIF of August 2022 was under the theme “international cooperation for sustainable development”. Organic Egypt project and the Faculty of organic agriculture Heliopolis University took the advantage to announce in this SIF the winners of the “Grow Organic Competition”! “Grow Organic Competition” is a competition co-organized by Organic Egypt project, Organic Knowledge Hub project, the Faculty of organic agriculture Heliopolis University and Devilag project, to encourage students from all Egyptian Universities to make a simple manual for organic crops for the farmers. 159 students had applied in the competition from 18 different universities!

The first place was awarded to Abd El Khalek Ahmed and Sherif Abd Elaziz from Ain Shams University, who made a cultivation and production manual for organic onion!

The second place was awarded to Alaa Saaid Mohamed from Alexandria University, who submitted the best marjoram manual!

And last but not least, the third place was awarded to Asmaa Saaid and Esraa Rabiaa from Ain Shams University. They made a manual for organic sesame. Moreover, the winners were offered to attend a training on composting to increase their knowledge on small and large scale composting. The awards were presented by Dr. Fawzy Abouelabaz as the chairman of the competition.

NEW INNOVATIVE SERVICES OF OUR PARTNER ASSOCIATIONS

Economy of Love Carbon Credits

Economy of Love Carbon Credit (EoL CC) Website 

The EoL department has launched a new page within the existing EoL webpage that is primarily focussing on the communication and implementation of the carbon credit scheme. This page explains the additionalities of the EoL carbon scheme as well as the methodology used, the governance, the co-benefits and a shop for purchasing such credits. For transparency reasons, EoL included the EoL Carbon Registry, which ensures that double accounting of credits is avoided. 

Economy of Love data collection for EoL Carbon Registry 

The EoL team conducted a trip collecting photo and video material of the first farmers that have now been verified and validated according to the EoL CC scheme. The communication material is now available on the EoL Website under the EoL carbon registry. The team conducted interviews with the farmers as well as their experience of applying biodynamic farming principles. The team visited 2 farms in Fayoum, 8 farms in Minya and 2 farms in Assiut. In the next month, the team will visit some farms in Beheira and Menoufia. 

Economy of Love Fund Website 

In order to promote the transition of farmers towards sustainable and biodynamic and EoL farming principles, the Economy of Love initiative, in cooperation with the SEKEM Development Foundation has launched a microcredit project.

Farmers are now encouraged to make their first investment in buying beehives or changing to renewable energy through the support of EoL microloans. In addition, EoL designed the EoL Fund, which supports farmers in making investments like increasing compost production or afforestation projects on their farms. 

EDUCATIONAL AND AWARENESS RAISING CAMPAIGNS

Recipe Videos for consumer awareness

In light of RDNA and Organic Egypt cooperation to raise awareness RDNA is campaigning for organic vs conventional products, inviting consumers to “switch” from conventionally produced to organic products, by sharing recipe videos which are healthy, engaging and easy to do at home. Recipe videos were done for various dishes, including “Watermelon feta salad" and ”Figs walnuts arugula salad'', which include products from IDAM and EBDA partner farms, as well as other organic and clean products. The recipe videos can be watched on the social media platforms of RDNA and Organic Egypt.

NETWORKING ACTIVITIES OF ORGANIC EGYPT PROJECT

IDAMs visit to “Our Seeds Our Roots” association in Lebanon

Within the framework of spreading and implementing ecological agriculture, a team of 20 participants (4 of IDAM office and 16 members) visited the “Our Seeds Our Roots” association in Lebanon. “Our Seeds Our Roots” is concerned with ecological agriculture and the production and preservation of local seeds. The association organized a training on ecological agriculture, including topics such as: Soil, organic fertilizers, biological control and local seed production and preservation for IDAM team.

IDAM members (representatives of the 4 villages in Minia Governorate), formulated and discussed projects to apply the knowledge and experiences they gained in Lebanon as community initiatives in their villages. The visit was supported by the French Development Agency.