Newsletter Volume 2 – June to September 2019
TRAINING PROGRAMS FOR PARTNER ASSOCIATIONS
Egyptian Bio-Dynamic Association (EBDA) is successfully continuing its monthly trainings with the staff and extensionists in technical and practical skills as well as capacity building trainings.
Fayoum Agro Organic & Development Association (FAODA) is continuing it’s Agro Organic Trainer Program; which is implemented to train fresh graduates to be qualified extensionists for consulting farmers in organic farming. 7 promising candidates from a total of over 30 applicants have been selected; these candidates received trainings and will be employed by FAODA at the end of the training program in October 2019.
VISIT OF DR. THOMAS CHIESLIK TO EGYPT
On the 7th of July 2019, the team of Organic Egypt welcomed Dr. Thomas Cieslik from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) at the SEKEM Farm, Belbeis. Representatives from both partner associations introduced their work and shared backgrounds about the cooperation between the project Organic Egypt and their institutions. Also the expectations of the partner associations towards the project Organic Egypt as well as some challenges were discussed.
Dr. Cieslik encouraged the partner associations to continue working in close cooperation with the project Organic Egypt in order to strengthen synergies and knowledge among the institutions. He expressed his optimism for change, even if it takes some time, so he said.
ORGANIC EGYPT SUPPORTS PILOT PROJECTS
Organic Egypt is planning to support “Pilot Projects” which experiment with new organic agriculture approaches and techniques that support the growth of the organic agriculture sector in Egypt. Throughout the call for pilot projects within the associations, we received several applications including organic pest control, postharvest of organic herbs, organic seed production, organic fertilizers as well as demonstration fields and community markets to link farmers and consumers.
In order to evaluate the applications of pilot projects, Organic Egypt selected an independent advisory committee of experts that reviewed and discussed all projects submitted. The advisory committee consists of experts in the field of organic agriculture and development in Egypt who have the background and experience to judge the feasibility and relevance of the pilot projects.
A total of ten projects were submitted from the partner associations, four pilot projects were selected and will be fully or partially funded by Organic Egypt. The selected pilot projects are in the fields of postharvest treatment of medicinal and aromatic plants in Fayoum, laboratory for the reproduction of predators in Belbeis, production of organic cotton seeds in different governorates and the production of organic vegetable seeds in Belbeis.
MONTHLY PARTNER ASSOCIATIONS MEETING
The monthly meeting for the partner associations (EBDA and FOADA) as well as independent consultants and representatives from the private sector are hosted and facilitated every month by Organic Egypt. During the last meetings a SWOT analysis was conducted for understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the organic agriculture sector in Egypt in general and elaborating the topics and next steps to be taken; also the purpose and concrete account-abilities of both partner associations have been defined. A strategic plan with concrete actions has been developed to be implemented in the coming 3 years.
EGYPTIAN NATIONAL CERTIFICATION BODY
The project Organic Egypt supports the establishment of a national Egyptian certification body in order to promote organic agriculture in Egypt. With a national certification body we want to strengthen and increase local organic food production and make the certification process not only accessible for large export farms but also to smallholder farmers, to organic processing companies and to the growing value chain of organic produce in Egypt. In this context, the project Organic Egypt supports the national certification body “Certification of Organic Agriculture in Egypt” (COAE) to regain its organic accreditation by the end of 2019.
CENTRAL LAB OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE (CLOA)
CLOA is part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land reclamation. Its purpose is to promote organic production in Egypt. They organize training courses in organic farm management and publish extension materials for organic producers. Several meetings were conducted with Dr. Atef Abdelaziz, the director of CLOA in order to discuss the situation of the organic agriculture sector in Egypt as well as the situation of the new national organic law that will be issued at the end of this year according to Dr. Atef Abdelaziz. Organic Egypt is conducting a situation analysis of the organic market in Egypt which will be finalized and published by the end of this year.
START OF THE COTTON HARVEST
Egypt is specialized in cotton varieties that are some of the best in the world; long and extra long staple cotton. At the end of September, in the town of Kafr Saad, Damietta, Beheira Governor-ate, the cotton harvest started where EBDAs contracted farmers are producing bio-dynamic cotton. EBDA celebrated the start of the cotton season with a group of farmers and laborers as well as the company Naturtex, the buyers of the organic cotton accompanied by its future customer the German company Paradies to the whole value chain.