Egypt: Pro-poor Horticulture Value Chains in Upper Egypt
Despite Egypt’s recent economic growth, poverty has expanded, especially in rural Upper Egypt, which contains two thirds of the country's most impoverished citizens. Most small landholders are marginalized and face inefficient value chains. The Joint Programme worked in three locations in the poorest Upper Egyptian Governates to promote equitable partnerships between small farmers and private sector investors and to increase the efficiency of pro-poor horticulture value chains.
The SALASEL ("chains") programme used an innovative approach, integrating assistance to service providers and beneficiaries in order to develop sustainable agribusiness. Initiatives helped operators and entrepreneurs deal with technical regulations, standards, codes of good practices and conformity assessment. In parallel, operators and entrepreneurs were supported with business development and advisory services, entrepreneurship development, gender equity and marketing activities.
- Improve the existing structure and capacities of three Post-Harvest Centers and six Farmers’ Associations;
- Improve farmers' positions in domestic and export markets; and
- Support policy and regulatory changes that promote pro-poor private sector-based growth.
- Through direct technical support to almost 2,000 farmers, productivity in five selected crops increased by an average of 24%. Nearly all the trained farmers are fully or partially applying their training, and better usage of fertilizers and pesticides has decreased production costs.
- Linkages between Farmers’ Associations and processors, exporters and retailers were improved and the amount of production supplied increased from 585 tons in 2011 to 4,655 tons by May 2013, greatly exceeding the target of 2,500 tons. Strategic investments to improve post-harvest centre infrastructures and train workers increased productivity three-fold.
- With regard to the goal of improving women's livelihoods, six women’s committees were elected within the targeted Farmers' Associations and three were assisted to start their own business plans. Some 75 women received support to start their own horticulture and cattle-raising businesses, increasing their income and contributing to their entrepreneurial attitude.
- The programme improved human capital in the sector by training 150 newly-graduated agronomists to meet the needs of the employment market.
- The SALASSEL programme also focused on enabling a legal framework. Actively forging relationships with farmers’ syndicates and the Central Agricultural Cooperatives Union, SALASEL organized a major forum for key decision makers, including the Egyptian president's assistant for economic development, the head of the Cooperatives Branch at the Ministry of Agriculture, leading figures from all major political parties as well as from the private sector, especially in the Upper Egypt agro-industry. The conference was followed by a study tour to Turkey to view cooperative mechanisms there and invitees included representatives of government. In addition, two studies were conducted on cooperative law and assessment of bottlenecks affecting Farmers' Associations.
Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programmes in Egypt.