A group of 11 Dutch companies - among which Bosman, van Zaal, Koppert, East West Seed, and Eurofins Agro - visited Egypt earlier this year to explore opportunities for climate-smart agriculture. This ‘Inspiration and Knowledge-sharing tour’ was organized by the Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC), on behalf of RVO and the Netherlands embassy in Cairo.
All participants of the tour are active in the fields of irrigation and climate-resistant agriculture, including desalination. The program was initiated by the LAN team of the Netherlands embassy in Cairo, which felt this visit, despite the pandemic, was crucial in order to kick-start the business relations between the two countries. It was a chance to explore opportunities for Dutch and Egyptian partnerships to find solutions to Egypt’s challenges to farm in a rapidly changing climate.
Company visit to Belco. Photo credit NABC.
The three-day program kicked off with company visits, ensuring participants immediately got a good understanding of the reality on the ground. The second day was dedicated to visiting the Sahara Expo, one of the largest agricultural trade fairs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where the Dutch companies showcased their solutions and shared their knowledge during a hybrid seminar moderated by Peter Prins of Land, Water & Food Consult. Over 50 participants joined the Dutch seminar, which was also live-streamed. A recording can be found here.
Knowledge exchange in practice. Photo credit NABC.
The program was appreciated by the participating companies, and nearly all of them indicated in a survey that they expected to engage in business with the companies they met during the visit. Mr. Coen Everts, who represents East-West Seed, commented:
“The mission was above expectation. We realized that there are many more smallholders active in the Nile Delta than we previously thought. These contacts will almost certainly lead to business for us.”
Visiting farmers working with Mozare3. Photo credit NABC.
“These companies have knowledge and expertise that can contribute to sustainable and inclusive agriculture. I hope we can maintain this momentum to mobilize an impactful coalition for climate-smart agriculture,” said Dr. Melle Leenstra, Agricultural Counsellor Egypt and Jordan.
A potential follow-up could be the setting up of a demonstration farm showcasing Dutch expertise, technologies, and products. There are two potential pilots, one with a large commercial farm, and one within Mozare3 or a project of Care Egypt, targeting small-holder farmers.
The pilot in the large commercial farm in the 'new land' could focus on improving the (natural) resilience of salt-affected soils, pilots on implementation of various CSA techniques to design resilient soft fruit value chains (such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries), and on the introduction of innovative soil tests and systems of certified quality control.
The pilot with Mozare3/Care Program could focus on small-holders in the Nile valley of delta and subjects like irrigation techniques, different seeds, second-hand machinery, soil improvement and testing, and improvement of fertilization strategies.
For more information:
Ministry of agriculture, nature and food quality of the Netherlands