Western and Central Africa
Eastern and Southern Africa
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Located in northeastern Africa, Egypt is bounded on the north by
the Mediterranean Sea; on the east by the Gaza Strip, Israel, and
the Red Sea; on the south by Sudan; and on the west by Libya.
Covering a total area of 997,739 km2, the country stretches 1,105
km from north to south and up to 1,129 km from east to west. More
than 90 percent of Egypt consists of desert areas. Its climate is
characterized by hot, dry summers and moderate winters.
The agricultural sector contributes about 15 percent of Egypt's
GDP. Approximately one-third of Egyptian labour is engaged directly
in farming, and many others work in the processing or trading of
agricultural products. Food production for domestic consumption
includes tomatoes, rice, wheat, milk, maize and fruits. Livestock
and fish also make an important contribution to the national diet
(IFOAM 2003). Major export crops are cotton, rice, oranges,
vegetables and molasses (FAO, 14.07.2006). Egypt's area of
cultivable land is very small but highly fertile. It is located for
the most part along the Nile and in the Nile Delta.
Overview of organic farming
In Egypt, intensive cultivation on a relatively small
agricultural area corresponded with a traditionally high rate of
pesticide and fertilizer use. Problems with this have been
stimulating a rising interest in organic production (IFOAM 2003).
Today Egypt has a well developed and still rapidly growing organic
sector. About 24'548 hectares of land are under organic management,
accounting for 0.72 % of the country's total agricultural area.
Organic production concentrates on about 500 farming enterprises
(IFOAM & FiBL 2006). Many of these farms are 'desert' farms,
using irrigation from the Nile.
Key organic products
Egyptian organic farmers grow a variety of crops, including
fruits (notably grapes, citrus, dates mangoes and strawberries),
vegetables, cereals and spices as well as non-food crops as cotton
and medical plants (IFOAM 2003, IFOAM & FiBL 2006). While much
produce is exported, primarily to Europe, Egypt is also one of the
few African countries that enjoy domestic demand for a number of
organic products. The ongoing expansion of the domestic market
continues to diminish the local producers' reliance on export
sales, thereby encouraging buoyant investment activity in the
NGOs play a significant role in supporting the organic movement
in Egypt. The Egyptian Biodynamic Association (EBA) has been
established in 1990 aiming to promote organic agriculture in Egypt.
The organization providing training, research, and advisory
services in field of organic farming is a subsidiary initiative of
the SEKEM group, which has been responsible for most of the early
development of the organic sector in Egypt.
Organic certification in Egypt is mainly provided by two local
organisations: the Egyptian Center for Organic Agriculture (ECOA)
and the Center of Organic Agriculture in Egypt (COAE). Both
companies are members of IFOAM and accredited to certify for
Coordinator: Helmy Abouleish
3 Cairo-Belbeis Desert Road
P.O. Box 2834 El-Horreya
11361 Cairo, Egypt
Tel.: +2 02 65 64 124/5, +2 02 265 64 140
Call Centre in Cairo: 08004448444
Fax: +2 02 65 64 123
Email: info(at)sekem.com, sekem(at)sekem.com
The Egypt organic agriculture sector has been receiving support
from the following external organisations amongst others:
Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM)International Trade
Centre (ITC)Food and Agriculture
Organisation (FAO)German Technical