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  • EGYPT 


    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.

    Agricultural sector

    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 sector.

    The network

    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 EUREPGAP.

    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
    Website: www.sekem.com 

    External Support

    The Egypt organic agriculture sector has been receiving support from the following external organisations amongst others:

    CARE International
    International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM)
    International Trade Centre (ITC)
    Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
    German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) 


    • FAO, 14.07.2006: Key Statistics of Food and Agriculture External Trade. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Statistics Division. URL: www.fao.org/es/ess/toptrade/trade.asp?dir=exp&country=3&ryear=2004 and www.fao.org/es/ess/top/country.html?lang=en
    • IFOAM & FiBL (2006): The World of Organic Agriculture. Statistics and Emerging Trends 2006. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn & Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Frick, pp. 27-35.
    • IFOAM (2003): Organic and Like-Minded Movements in Africa. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn, pp.102-108.
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