Newsletter Volume 21 –February 2023

Dear Reader, 

This is volume number 21 of Organic Egypt project newsletter. It reviews our activities in February 2023 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 the Economy of Love (EoL) standard

A one day training on the Economy of Love (EoL) standard was conducted for the engineers of EBDA. The training started by a revision of the biodynamic and organic practices and their holistic impact (e.g., biodiversity, climate change mitigation..etc). Followed by discussing the EoL standard benefits like; receiving technical training, higher income through EoL carbon credits, among many other benefits.

The last session focused on the EoL standard criteria and checklist and the best and easiest way for the engineers to get the data and to support the farmers through the certifying and auditing process. 

Training on Data Visualisation

A one day practical training on data visualization tools was conducted to 17 of the partner associations staff. Two experts prepared and implemented the training. At first, Dr. Amr Ghanem defined data and its types with an explanation of data processing methods and different ways of displaying it. He explained how this can be applied to google sheets more accurately and to all types of graphs and further, showed how compound graphs can be constructed. In addition he explained how to prepare data for dashboard work, how to prepare dynamic graphs and how to build dynamic dashboards. Then Dr. Abdelrahman Ali introduced and explained the Canva website and its features. He worked with the participants on different and varied designs (pictures, videos, presentations, etc.) and the differences between the free and paid templates. Also editing and modifying pictures, videos, presentations, ppt, infographics, design posters and book covers and personal cards (business cards) have been discussed and applied.

Training on Biodynamic agriculture

Our partener association (EBDA) participated in a training organized by the Goetheanum section for agriculture in Switzerland. The 4 days training covered several topics including biodynamic research in the past, present and future as well as the implementation and training challenges of biodynamics in different climates and cultural conditions. The training was attended by many representatives of demeter associations world wide. Through different workshops in the topics of fiber, soil, crops and vegetables amongst others, exchange of knowledge and information and experiences was made. Also, success stories of women pioneers in biodynamics from all over the world were shared by the participants.

Strategic Planning Workshop with IDAM

Organic Egypt together with IDAM team had a complementary strategic planning workshop to develop the strategy paper of IDAM's agricultural program. The workshop consisted of several sessions and meetings with organic agriculture specialists to better understand the sector and to get insight to develop the strategic plan. During the three days workshop, a SWOT analysis was conducted from which outcomes and objectives were defined. In groups, indicators for each outcome were defined. In the coming months, a workshop will be conducted to determine the short and long term activities and to make an action plan. 

Training on how to onboard new farmers in the EoL certification

Organic Egypt co-organized a one-day training for IDAM and RDNA suppliers to learn how to onboard new farmers in the EoL certification system. The training was conducted by EBDA representatives, who explained the various services of EBDA and how to get enrolled in the EoL certification. One session covered the basics of the EBDA consultancy programs and training systems, another session explained the Economy of Love standard, its criteria, its services, and its benefits.

NEW INNOVATIVE SERVICES OF OUR PARTNER ASSOCIATIONS

Evaluation and further development of the ERPnext system

The EBDA team hosted Gabriel Morgen, the chief technology officer (CTO) at Producers trust Company. 

He came to analyze and understand the ERPnext system in order to support EBDA to improve and upgrade it. He visited the EBDA farms to meet the field engineers and understand the data entry system.  His visit was very productive as he helped in outlining the challenges and map out the points EBDA want to achieve and upgrade. He also provided innovative solutions to facilitate the process of registering the EBDA farmers.

TRAINING AND LEARNING MATERIAL CREATED WITH OUR PARTNERS

Recipe Videos for consumer awareness

Organic Egypt in cooperation with RDNA Food store, is producing recipe videos to raise awareness on natural, local and organic food. The recipe videos are a short, fun, visual way to communicate with the consumers and easy to do at home. This February the recipe videos included Orange Veggie Lamb, Fereek with baladi Sausage, Honey Mustard Duck, Roasted Honey Sweet Potato! All recipe videos can be watched on the social media platforms of RDNA and Organic Egypt.

Videos on the benefits of Economy of love standard

In light of Organic Egypt’s and EBDA’s cooperation to raise awareness, several videos on the benefits of the Economy of Love standard were produced by EBDA this February. In the videos, certified farmers are sharing their stories, challenges and benefits to inspire other farmers to convert their farms to a sustainable agricultural practice. All videos will be published in the coming weeks and  can be watched on the social media platforms of EBDA and Organic Egypt.


EDUCATIONAL AND AWARENESS RAISING CAMPAIGNS

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. 10 vendors participated in this market with around 300 guests. The day was filled with lots of great conversations and discussions, tastings and more to bring consumers closer to producers and farmers.

Consumer  Excursion

Consumer excursions are designed to bring consumers closer to farmers and producers. With our strategic partner RDNA we conduct monthly consumer-farmer excursions. The excursion this February was organized to Wiiwii’s Farm a farm for vegetables and fruits cultivated in a natural way. The participants were 15 adults and 6 children. The program included a farm tour walk and farm lunch. The children got a chance to play in a designated playing area and pet the farm animals all day. There was also farm shopping for eggs, beans, and other veggies.


NETWORKING ACTIVITIES OF ORGANIC EGYPT PROJECT

BIOFACH 2023

BIOFACH is the biggest exhibition for organic products worldwide, where the opportunity for networking with international stakeholders is significant. Organic Egypt team attended this year with a lot of scheduled meetings and sessions which had displayed many interesting and insightful topics related to advocacy and marketing. It was a great chance to meet stakeholders from the African organic movements like Kenya Organic Agricultural Movement (KOAN) and Heritage Foods Africa. Also, meetings with IFOAM and CIHEAM Bari representatives were conducted to share and learn about organic agriculture movements.

Visiting IDAMs Farm in Minia

IDAM has a big farm that consists of about 70 feddan (35 hectares) in the north of Minia. The farm is called Shosha farm and has, besides the open fields for agricultural cultivation, an aquaculture system, beehives, and a compost unit that is in the planning phase, also they have a big facility for poultry and livestock production that is currently not running. Shosha farm has a great potential to be converted into a certified organic or EoL farm. The cultivation there is without any synthetic fertilizers or plant protection remedies, but the farm is not certified yet. Consequently, IDAM team invited Organic Egypt with the project coordinator Martin Wahl from bbw international to visit the farm. After a farm tour, discussions took place to get to know the challenges and elaborate ideas on developing and converting the farm. Moreover, the participants had a long meeting to discuss the current running activities and services for IDAM members, possible cooperations between IDAM and Demeter Egypt, and the upcoming training programs for IDAM staff.