Newsletter Volume 24 –May 2023

Dear Reader, 

This is volume number 24 of Organic Egypt project newsletter. It reviews our activities in May 2023 and illustrates all interventions conducted with our partners, the Integral Development Action of Minia (IDAM) and Demeter Egypt (EBDA).

We hope you enjoy the read!

TRAININGS AND WORKSHOPS FOR PARTNER ASSOCIATIONS

Training on the ERPNext online system

In the context of supporting our partner association in the digital transformation and creating a strong and organized database for their members, a training was conducted for the EBDA agricultural extension engineers about the ERPnext program and how to create a complete file for the farm including its location, owner’s name, the crops grown, and all other data related to the farm.

Training on the Demeter Standard (Biodiversity and Livestock Regulations)

In light of the cooperation between Organic Egypt and EBDA a training was conducted for the agricultural engineers who newly joined the association. The training covered the general principles of the demeter standard such as the principles of production, processing, ecological responsibility, and social responsibility.

The demeter standard also includes the biodiversity and the livestock regulations that were discussed in detail by the trainer. The training was very interactive and the trainees were very engaged and interested to learn how to support their farmers in applying the demeter standards.

First training module for IDAM engineers on sustainable agricultural extensionists

The Organic Egypt project organized a training module entitled “Introduction to Agroecology” for its partner IDAM.

The 3 days training is part of a diploma for sustainable agricultural extension that will be held for approximately one year and consists of a series of modules including all relevant topics related to the extension work in sustainable agriculture. 18 engineers and facilitators from IDAM participated in the first training module. They learned about the principles of agroecology and ecological agriculture. The training was very interactive and engaging, as the participants had the opportunity to ask questions, share their experiences, and discuss the challenges and opportunities of Agroecology in Egypt. The feedback from the participants was very positive, as they expressed their satisfaction with the quality and relevance of the training program.

NEW INNOVATIVE SERVICES OF OUR PARTNER ASSOCIATIONS

Establishment of a marketing department at EBDA

In the continuous efforts to provide innovative solutions and support the organic agriculture community, the first two milestones in establishing a marketing department at EBDA to mediate between farmers and processors was accomplished in May 2023. Firstly, the marketing specialist position was filled after the successful implementation of the Business consultation training. Secondly, EBDA has introduced an online marketplace on its website's homepage. The online marketplace not only offers a wide range of organic production inputs sourced from approximately 20 different trusted suppliers, but also provides a valuable matchmaking platform (B2B) for organic and biodynamic raw materials. Whether you are a member of EBDA or simply passionate about organic products, this service is available for everyone to utilize. At present, the online marketplace is in the development and trial phase, as EBDA strives to refine and enhance its features. We invite you to explore the new shop and experience the convenience it offers for farmers. Simply visit the website at http://shop.ebda.earth/ to access the shop and discover the exciting array of organic products available.

Whether you are a member of EBDA or simply passionate about organic products, this service is available for everyone to utilize. At present, the online marketplace is in the development and trial phase, as EBDA strives to refine and enhance its features. We invite you to explore the new shop and experience the convenience it offers for farmers. Simply visit the website at http://shop.ebda.earth/ to access the shop and discover the exciting array of organic products available.

Progress in the Native Chicken Breeds Project

IDAM has successfully placed the first batch of pure Fayoumi breed eggs in the hatchery. This milestone marks an important step towards the production of pure Fayoumi breed chicks. The hatchery, located in the Mansafis community, is now home to the eagerly anticipated first batch of pure Fayoumi breed chicks.

The pure Fayoumi breed is known for its resilience, adaptability, and exceptional egg-laying capabilities, however, it's going to be extinct soon. By focusing on this breed, IDAM aims to contribute to the preservation of the local heritage and ensure a sustainable future for poultry farming in the region.

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.  The last videos were about how to prepare Ricotta Cherry, Tomato Pasta, Chocolate Rice Cakes as well, Herby grilled Halloumi Wrap and Roasted Lemon Parmesan Asparagus. Vegetables and products from EBDA partner farms, as well as other organic and clean products were used.

Video on the success stories of EBDA members

In light of Organic Egypt and EBDA cooperation to raise awareness, several videos on the success story of EBDA members were produced this May. 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. The videos can be watched on the social media channels of EBDA and Organic Egypt.

Video on the benefits of Bees in organic farming

This May we celebrated the World Bees Day! In cooperation with our partner association EBDA, an awareness video has been developed about the benefits of the bees for our planet!

The video focuses on the main five benefits of bees: pollination, food production, biodiversity, honey and wax. The video can be watched on the social media channels of EBDA and Organic Egypt.

EDUCATIONAL AND AWARENESS RAISING CAMPAIGNS

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 May was organized to Hazel  Farm, a farm for vegetables and fruits cultivated in an agroecological way. There were 9 participants. The program included a farm tour and farm lunch as well as several activities like planting vegetable seedlings in pots, and access to a playing area and petting animals.

NETWORKING ACTIVITIES OF ORGANIC EGYPT PROJECT AND PARTNERS

Economy of Love Standard at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

EBDA representative Justus Harm had the opportunity to present the work of the Egyptian Economy of Love standard at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA. The presentation captivated the audience, generating fruitful and stimulating discussions among experts and scholars.

The emphasis was the importance of ethical supply chains and the associative economical elements of the EoL scheme as fundamental drivers of societal well-being and the regeneration of natural ecosystems. Some participants posed critical questions that focused on the issue of societal inequalities. The Economy of Love scheme provides a robust regulatory framework that effectively addresses and prevents inequalities, ensuring a fair distribution of resources and opportunities within certified supply chains. Moreover, it recognizes and upholds the importance of individual rights, empowering individuals to actively participate in economic and organizational decision-making processes.

Strengthening Participatory Guarantee Systems: EBDA Collaborates with Timbaktu Collective

EBDA met with two representatives from the Timbaktu Collective in India to exchange information on the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS). 

Hailing from the drought-prone region of Andhra Pradesh, India, the Timbaktu Collective is a trailblazing grassroots nonprofit organization with a remarkable 32-year track record.

Their transformative work encompasses a range of initiatives, including organic agriculture promotion, natural regeneration, community-based institutions, alternative banking, rural entrepreneurship, and championing the rights of women, children, and persons with disabilities.

During their visit, the Timbaktu Collective representatives engaged in productive discussions and solution oriented techniques with EBDA. Timbaktu Collective also expressed their interest in implementing the EoL standard including the carbon credit component with their 2000 farmers in the Andhra Pradesh region. Their visit provided a valuable platform to exchange ideas, explore the details of the Participatory Guarantee System, and gain a deeper understanding of the local rural culture.