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Agriculture and Food Security

A woman packages grapes for export at Esna Packhouse in Luxor, Egypt.
A woman packages grapes for export at Esna Packhouse in Luxor, Egypt.
USAID/Julie Fossler

Overview

USAID helps Egypt increase its agricultural productivity and raise farmers’ incomes to become more self-reliant.  USAID has provided more than $1.4 billion to the agriculture sector in Egypt since 1978.  USAID’s legacy has enabled farmers to purchase land, improved farm management techniques and access to financial services, and liberalized ag input markets for fertilizers and seeds.  Through Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, USAID’s approach encourages free market competition and helps match farmers with local and international buyers to meet market needs and consumer demands.

Agriculture is a major component of the Egyptian economy, contributing 14.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.  The agricultural sector accounts for 28 percent of all jobs, and over 55 percent of employment in Upper Egypt is agriculture-related.  Egypt’s agriculture sector is dominated by small farms using traditional practices that do not meet international standards.

USAID’s program components complement each other by enhancing the productivity of the entire agriculture value chain, from farm to table. Working with local associations and cooperatives, USAID helps Egyptian small-scale farmers be more responsive to global market needs.  Through training, farmers are able to achieve international quality standards certification, which helps them gain exporters’ confidence in their products.  USAID incorporates innovative technologies in cold storage infrastructure and irrigation, and works with farmers on production, post-harvest processes, and marketing so that farmers can deliver high quality produce at higher prices.

Workforce development and women’s empowerment are essential to ensure the sustainability of these efforts. Agriculture employs almost 45 percent of women in the workforce.  Through work with agricultural technical schools, universities, and research institutions, USAID strengthens the quality of education and creates jobs and internships for students at commercial farms and factories.

Activities

FEED THE FUTURE EGYPT FOOD SECURITY AND AGRIBUSINESS SUPPORT: Using a market-driven approach, USAID increases agriculture-related incomes of 14,000 farmers by strengthening sustainable fruit and vegetable value chains for domestic and export markets. The activity incorporates innovative technologies in small-scale cold storage infrastructure and irrigation. It also works with farmers on production, post-harvest processes, marketing, and nutrition. Implementing Partner: Culturing New Frontiers in Agriculture (as part of the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance); Life of Activity: July 2015 – June 2020; Total Estimated Cost: $23 million; Governorates: Assiut, Aswan, Beni Suef, Luxor, Minya, Qena, and Sohag

EGYPT RURAL AGRIBUSINESS STRENGTHENING: Through the Egypt Rural Agribusiness Strengthening activity, USAID helps farmers in Upper Egypt and the Delta become more self-reliant and grow marketable crops that meet international standards for export. Under the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future, Egyptian farmers and food processors are establishing connections to domestic and international markets, gaining access to finance, and increasing their adherence to food and safety practices. Additionally, the activity assists Egyptian agribusinesses in modernizing their food technology and delivery systems by upgrading processing facilities, refrigeration trucks, and water-efficient irrigation systems. This activity builds on USAID’s previous investments in Egypt’s agricultural sector, including in irrigation infrastructure, establishment of agricultural associations, and training programs to help farmers transition from traditional staple crops to high-value horticulture. Implementing Partner: ABT Associates; Life of Activity: August 2018 – December 2023; Total Estimated Cost: $36.3 million; Governorates: Alexandria, Assiut, Aswan, Beheira, Beni Suef, Cairo, Dakahlia, Giza, Gharbia, Ismailia, Luxor, Menoufia, Minya, Qalyoubia, Qena, Sharkia, and Sohag

EVALUATING IMPACT AND BUILDING CAPACITY: To determine the overall effects of its agriculture interventions, USAID funds impact evaluations to generate evidence that informs policy and program design and implementation. These evaluations examine how to leverage the direct link between agriculture, health, and nutrition. Additionally, the activity builds the monitoring and evaluation capacity of Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture staff and it creates a repository of knowledge and evidence-based research to inform policy-making and resource allocation.  Implementing Partner: International Food Policy and Research Institute; Life of Activity: July 2015 – June 2020; Total Estimated Cost: $5.5 million; Governorates: Assiut, Aswan, Beni Suef, Cairo, Luxor, Minya, Qena, and Sohag

Last updated: October 30, 2019

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