Newsletter Volume 19 – December 2022

Dear Reader, 

Merry Chrsitmas and Happy New Year!

This is the nineteenth newsletter of Organic Egypt project.  It reviews our activities in December 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 Soil Microbiology

Organic Egypt organized a 5-Days training for its partners EBDA and IDAM on soil microbiology. The training was based on understanding the basics of the dynamic relationship between plants and the soil microbiome. This included the soil microbiome’s role in nutrient cycling, building of soil structure, and successional selection. An outline of the practical process for applying this knowledge in the field was also provided, along with an intensive introduction to soil microscopy with hands-on practice. A new method for quickly assessing the makeup of the microbiome according to morphological and functional groups was derived from the process used by certified Soil Food Web (SFW) laboratories and taught to the participants. The participants were very interested in the new analyzing technique and expressed their wish to have a second training in 2023 to further increase their skills and knowledge in the SFW method.

EDUCATIONAL AND AWARENESS RAISING CAMPAIGNS

Organizational Development Workshop with EBDA

Organic Egypt organized a 2 days workshop on organizational development for its partner association EBDA . The workshop was conducted at the Heliopolis University, with the participation of 7 EBDA team members. The consultant started with reviewing EBDA strategy and their SWOT analysis as well as their action plan, and if it’s aligned with their vision, mission and values. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) were discussed and we elaborated, which SDGs are covered by EBDA’s outcomes and goals. The EBDA team got many insights on how to further develop their strategy paper.

Training on Leadership skills

Representative of the partner association EBDA, attended a 2-day program at the Presencing Institute, integrating the application of new forms of leadership skills based on Theory U.

The Presencing Institute was founded in 2006 by Otto Scharmer and colleagues at MIT Sloan School of Management to create an action research platform at the intersection of science, consciousness, and profound social and organizational change. 

The training mainly focused on the intersection of different sectors working on sustainability solutions. A part of the training implemented the application of Case Clinic. This is a peer coaching process designed to identify innovative solutions and next steps for addressing a pressing and immediate leadership challenge. In a Case Clinic, a case giver presents a case, and peers or team members act as coaches, based on the principles of the U-process and process consultation. This training enabled EBDA representative to identify current challenges and explore how innovative methods - using the U-Process - can be applied to address them.

NEW INNOVATIVE SERVICES OF OUR PARTNER ASSOCIATIONS

Production and expansion of Native Chicken Breeds for IDAM members

IDAM with the support of Organic Egypt, started the pilot project of producing and distributing native chicken breeds in Minia. In the 4 villages, 21 chosen female breeders are raising the native breeds. Unfortunately, in December, there is a loss of almost a quarter of the chickens due to severe infections from flu, coccidia and clostridium, but around 1500 chicks are still there and no infections are listed anymore. In April 2023, they will produce eggs that will be hatched in the incubators and distributed amongst all IDAM members.

Demo-plots at IDAM Agricultural Learning Center

The Agricultural Learning Center (ALC) of IDAM aims to showcase sustainable/organic agricultural cultivation methods. With the support of Organic Egypt, IDAM team designed 2 demo plots of ½ feddan anise and ½ feddan fennel for their members. The second farmer field school with around 15 IDAM members was conducted in December. The topic of this session was how to control weeds and which biofertilizers can be used that are available on the market. Next session will be held in the beginning of January, covering the topic of pests and diseases that might appear on the 2 crops and what preventive measures can be taken as well as the biocontrol agents that are available on the market.

EDUCATIONAL AND AWARENESS RAISING CAMPAIGNS

Recipe Videos for consumer awareness

In the light of the cooperation between RDNA and Organic Egypts to raise awareness, RDNA is producing and sharing recipe videos which are healthy, engaging and easy to do at home. The recipe videos are a short, fun, visual way to communicate with the consumers. This December the recipe videos included Lemon Tahini Broccoli, Cauliflower Soup, Creamy Spiced Apple Oatmeal and the best chicken noodle Soup!! All recipe videos can be watched on the social media platforms of RDNA and Organic Egypt.

Farmers and Processors Market

Organic Egypt in cooperation with RDNA, implements Farmers and Processors Markets in an open space at KMT house, Maadi in Cairo. The December Market was conducted as the Christmas edition, 15 vendors participated in this market with around 400 guests. Different activities and christmas gifts were distributed among consumers and it was filled with lots of great conversations and discussions, tastings and more to bring consumers closer to producers and farmers.

NETWORKING ACTIVITIES OF ORGANIC EGYPT PROJECT

Financing Roundtable on Water-Energy-Food-Nexus Farming

Organic Egypt was invited to attend a session about Water-Energy-Food Nexus policies using Design Thinking methodology! Creative thinking and empathy-based design techniques took the discussions towards more concrete policy frameworks and ideas for initiatives that will help advance and upscale WEF Nexus farming across Egypt. The hands-on workshop took place on 5th of  December, and was attended by representatives from different ministries, academic and research institutions, international organizations, the private sector, and NGOs. The event was part of a project implemented by GIZ and co-funded by the EU and BMZ.

Attending the Kick off Meeting of the BioTex Egypt project

Organic Egypt participated in the planning workshop of the BioTex Egypt project.  The project's main objective is to identify the needs of the organic textile and cotton sector in Egypt in order to create additional new and fair jobs in the organic textile sector. The project is funded by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and started its inception phase on the 1st of December 2022 for a duration of 12 months. The workshop was attended by representatives of farmer organizations that are working with organic cotton farmers, with representatives of the private sector, as well as a representative of a vocational training center that has a textile training section. The inception phase intends to investigate the potential of organic textiles in more detail, both in cultivation and processing, and to test initial measures. During the one day Kick Off meeting, an outline for the log-frame as well as a finance plan for the 1 year project was set. Both projects are strategically aligned, and with its particular focus on organic cotton, the BioTextil project builds on the work and endeavors, Organic Egypt project has already created in Egypt.

Meeting with Dr. Maisa Lotfy

Organic Egypt team organized a meeting with Dr . Maisa Lotfy (Director of the Central lab of Organic agriculture manager (CLOA)) to discuss the status of the Egyptian organic law as well as possible cooperation between the Central Lab and Organic Egypt project.

The meeting was conducted at the office of the CLOA, which will be transformed to the general administration of organic agriculture once the law is implemented. According to the Egyptian organic agriculture law, the administration will be responsible for implementing the law and supervising the whole sector in cooperation with the National Food Safety Authority. Dr. Miasa, indicated that the law hasn't been implemented yet, and once it starts, they will effectively work to support the sector on different levels (i.e., knowledge dissemination, platform, facilitation and raising awareness campaigns etc.) with all the stakeholders. Moreover, the implementation of the law will help in providing accurate data related to the organic agriculture sector like the total organic cultivated area, which crops, etc. Dr. Maisa welcomed the idea of cooperation with Organic Egypt on knowledge creation, raising awareness and networking for the sector’s stakeholders as well as disseminating the knowledge on the project's website and social media channels.