13-14 October 2021
Regional Consultation

Enhancing the resilience and sustainability of Egypt's agricultural sector

  • Cairo, Egypt

Within the framework of the project on enhancing the resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector in the Arab region, ESCWA, in cooperation with the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development, organized a national consultation session on enhancing the resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector in Egypt. The session is part of a series of five national consultation sessions in Arab countries.

The consultation session considered ways to bolster Egypt's agricultural sector in the face of climate change, the unsustainable use of natural resources and the COVID-19 pandemic. The session, which gathered key national stakeholders from the agriculture sector, resulted in practical recommendations and the identification of national priorities. Representatives from the ministries of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Water Resources and Irrigation, Planning and Economy participated in the national session, in addition to specialists in agricultural, environmental, and academic fields and representatives from Arab organizations, United Nations’ agencies working in Egypt, and civil society institutions.

It is expected that these five national consultation sessions in the targeted countries will result in a comprehensive document that identifies priorities and recommendations for the region's agricultural sector.

Outcome document

The national consultation session aimed at identifying ways of enhancing the agricultural sector’s resilience and sustainability in Egypt in the face of climate change, the unsustainable use of natural resources and the COVID-19 pandemic. Main key messages that resulted from the consultation session included:

  • Consolidating agricultural holdings to counter the problem of holdings’ fragmentation and stunting
  • Enforcing legal measures to prevent encroachment on agricultural lands
  • Encouraging land maintenance programmes
  • Developing field irrigation systems
  • Developing new cultivars that are salinity and drought resistant and that are highly productive and have a short life span
  • Establishing developed assembly centres and markets
  • Activating contract farming
  • Expanding covered drainage projects and reducing ground water level
  • Planting a vegetation cover in sand dunes areas
  • Reducing the cultivation of crops that are water demanding
  • Expanding the adoption of modern procedures used in artificial insemination and genetic improvement of animal breeds
  • Expanding the cultivation of salt-tolerant forage crops
  • Intensifying veterinary care, especially in areas where there are no veterinary services
  • Expanding the cultivation of tree forests on treated wastewater
  • Integrating gender into agricultural policies for promoting gender equality in the agricultural sector
  • Building the capacities of youth and women farmers for enabling them to double their productive capacities

This paper presented an overview of the most important factors that affect agricultural development and food security in the Arab region, especially those related to water and land conservation, and to climate change impact. The paper also included a conceptual framework on resilience and sustainability, and a guide for following up and evaluating the state of sustainability in the Arab agricultural sector. It also addressed the main requirements for enhancing the resilience and sustainability of agriculture in the Arab region.

This paper presented the context of the agricultural sector in Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon and the challenges faced by rural agricultural communities in these countries, mainly climate change, decline in areas of agricultural lands and water scarcity. Additionally, the paper addressed vulnerabilities of rural agricultural communities in the three countries and presented a number of proposed measures to enhance the resilience of the rural agricultural communities in each country.

Given the water scarcity problem in the Arab region, this paper focused on the high potential of rainfed agriculture to improve production and productivity levels in several countries of the Arab region. The paper also presented agricultural strategies and practices that allow improving water and land productivity in rainfed agriculture through adopting rainwater harvesting, supplemental irrigation, conservation agriculture, genetic improvement, integrated disease and weed control, among other good practices. Additionally, the paper noted the need to increase investment, capacity building and research in rainfed agriculture.

During this session a brief introduction to the agriculture sector in Egypt was presented, in addition to efforts made in agricultural development and main risks and challenges facing the sector and its sustainability, especially in relation to water and land resources and climate change impacts. The presentation also covered main interventions and trends towards enhancing resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector in Egypt.

The session covered several interventions in St. Catherine that promote water-energy-food nexus. These included mountain lakes project, AOAD and World Food Program’s cooperation in promoting the nexus, an integrated water-agriculture component project that included lakes establishment, wells rehabilitation, greenhouse farming, fruit trees plantation, capacity building activities and promoting solar energy among other activities. The session also focused on the need to maximize local communities’ role in managing resources to ensure their sustainability.

Participants were separated into three working groups, and each group was assigned to study one dimension of enhancing the resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector, as follows:

  • Socio-economic dimension
  • Environmental dimension and climate change
  • Women and youth empowerment

For each dimension, participants were specifically requested to identify the main challenges facing the agricultural sector in Sudan, and to propose for each challenge a number of solutions and indicators to measure improvement.

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