|Al-Ahram Weekly Online
21 - 27 June 2001
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A mechanised pastoralA total of $1,068 million of aid has been spent on implementing new agricultural projects, introducing modern technology and reclaiming new land, Youssef Wali, deputy prime minister and minister of agriculture, told Nihal Shukry
Export crops have also been encouraged and steps taken, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Economy, to open new markets for Egyptian agricultural products.
In his review of agricultural projects implemented in collaboration with USAID Wali said that special attention had been paid to specific subsectors.
Over 2,000 experts and researchers had benefited from training and study fellowships, with an emphasis placed on techniques of land reclamation. Some 200 fellows received grants for postgraduate research at universities in Europe and the US, capacity building activities that are bound, argued Wali, to benefit not just Egypt but those parts of Africa and the Arab world where Egyptian experts are engaged.
As to boosting exports, the minister noted that LE5 million had been allocated to promoting citrus fruit sales in the Far East by the Egyptian Export Promotion Bank. Rice exports were also subsidised, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Economy, by LE100 per ton under the Export Promotion of Agricultural Products scheme.
Projects implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation in collaboration with USAID. Information provided by the Ministry of Agriculture:
Rice Research Project 1977-1987
Total Grant: $20.9 million
Aims: To increase the output of rice by building up research and extension capabilities, training technical cadres, improving seed production and storage facilities.
Agricultural Mechanisation Project 1979-1987
Total Grant: $37.6 million
Aims: Developing agricultural mechanisation in Egypt by means of the following:
-- planning and evaluation
-- soil improvement
-- upgrading extension services in the area of mechanisation
-- establishment of mechanisation service centres
-- research for the development of agricultural machinery
Development of Farm Systems Project 1977- 1986
Total Grant: $14.9 million
Aims: Supporting the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation and its bodies in agricultural research on fruit and vegetable crop cultivation and related extension activities, and seeking economic solutions to constraints to agricultural production.
Development of Fishery Resources Project 1978-1988
Total Grant: $22.6 million
Aims: Establishing a national centre for research and training for the development of the fishery sector, the provision of extension services for fishery production, and fish ponds for fish breeding.
Improvement of Staple Cereal Crop Production 1979-1987
Total grant: $52.2 million
Aims: Increasing the production of cereals and leguminous crops by means of upgrading research and extension capabilities, creation of highly trained research and extension cadres and strengthening linkages between the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation on the one hand, and Egyptian universities on the other.
Cooperative Marketing Project 1979-1983
Total grant: $4.7 million
Aims: To strengthen cooperative societies specialised in the marketing of vegetable and fruits by means of training cadres, and the provision of funds to small scale vegetable and fruit producers to market their produce by means of a revolving credit facility during the project years.
Small Agricultural Enterprises 1979-1984
Total grant: $1.6 million
Aims: Studying small projects and provision of inputs of machinery and equipment required and the possibility of upgrading such inputs to provide better opportunities for producers in rural areas.
Improving the Productivity of Small Farmers 1979-1987
Total grant: $49 million
Aims: Raising the productivity levels of small farmers by linking funding, extension services with research with a view to provide guidance regarding the most suitable technology. Meanwhile, adequate funding was provided by the Agricultural Credit and Development Bank, which finances small farmers and provides them with non traditional guarantees.
The project draws on the outputs of other projects and seeks to apply such results to improve the productivity of small farmers in the project area.
Management Development Project 1980-1986
Total grant: $4.1 million
Aims: Consolidating the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation in the field of management development by means of building up the capabilities of higher and intermediate level personnel involved in planning, decision making and communications.
For this purpose, the Management Development Centre was established in the Barrage district.
Data Collection and Analysis Project 1980- 1988
Total grant: $5 million
Aims: Assisting the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation in developing systems for the collection and analysis of agricultural data. Statistical methods were introduced with the aim of providing inputs directly and promptly to decision makers and planners in the ministry.
National Agricultural Research Project 1985- 1994
Total grant: $179.2 million
Aims: To assist the agricultural sector to introduce modern techniques and to create conditions conducive to the increase of production.
The project also aimed at the further involvement of public and private businesses engaged in agricultural activities along the following five axes:
Research -- to further develop agricultural research by means of consolidating and improving the effectiveness of the research centre and of other research institutions, the Institute for Agricultural Genetic Engineering and Biotechnological Research has been established as an organ of the Agricultural Research Centre.
Technology transfer -- to adopt modern systems for the transfer of technology and of the results of research efforts which are required by research centres and universities as inputs to producers through public and private institutions operating in the field.
Policy analysis -- to develop and modernise the capabilities of agronomists and of the Agronomy Research Institute by means of introducing up to date technology for data collection and analysis and for conducting economic studies needed for the solution of problems and for supporting decision making.
Seed improvement and production technology -- to establish and develop economically feasible and sustainable seed preparation and processing facilities, to provide training to staff, and to encourage private business to invest in this area.
Management development -- to provide technical support to the executive bureau of the National Agricultural Research Project (NARP) which is responsible for all project activities.
The project provided for the financing of relevant research, analysis of solutions and the development of the agricultural sector.
Agricultural Production and Credit Project 1986-1995
Total grant: $289 million
Aims: The project consists of two main components
-- Provision of technical support to the Agricultural Development and Credit Bank to the order of $34 million to upgrade the effectiveness of services and to expand its credit and banking operations, to introduce modern accounting systems to enable the bank to meet its funding commitments to small farmers enabling them to adopt appropriate technologies and use agricultural research findings with the aim of increasing production and productivity and improving farmers' income.
-- A special component to liberalise agriculture and farmers from restrictions that had constrained the entire sector. Seven items were set out, and with the implementation of each, an amount was disbursed.
Project for Peer Training 1994- 1998
Total grant: $3.574 million
Aims: To increase private investments in agriculture, and increase productivity, production and farmers' income. This was to be achieved by technical support provided at farm level by American farmers, extension workers, researchers, and agro- industrial experts.
Agricultural Policy Reform Project 1995-2002
The project is divided into two grants:
-- technical support ($56 million)
-- programme grant provided to the government ($245 million)
Aims: To fully liberalise the agricultural sector and affiliated or dependent sectors, to create a marketing system based on competitiveness, to optimise the use of water and land resources, to conserve the environment and encourage investments in agriculture and related activities, the end result being:
-- improved production and productivity
-- increased exports
-- new jobs
-- enhanced income
-- achievement of food security
Use and Transfer of Technology Project 1995- 2001
Total grant: $60 million
Aims: To provide adequate support for the transfer of technology, the production and marketing of certain vegetables and fruit crops as well as other food crops by means of:
-- the selection of adequate technologies to solve the problems faced by producers and exporters, which would optimise productivity and production, generate income by marketing and increasing exports of crops.
-- the selection of technologies which reduce the use of chemicals and improve the effectiveness of water use.
Egyptian-American cooperation has been invaluable in supporting the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation and research centres in promoting agricultural development, boosting productivity and production and achieving food security. The outcome of the project may be summarised as follows:
-- production and productivity levels in various crops improved in sugar cane, rice, and sorghum, the latter having reached world levels.
-- self-sufficiency in the production of cereals improved.
-- self-sufficiency was reached in the production of poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products, and fish.
-- production and productivity increased in fruit and vegetable output allowing more surplus for exports; and new crops exported include strawberries, cantaloupe and grapes.
-- the use of mechanisation expanded in the area of land levelling, and other processes including harvesting were mechanised.
-- funding for small farmers and producers was provided, and project beneficiaries are estimated at 2.3 million.
-- researchers, extension workers and agronomists benefited as more than 2,000 studied on fellowship grants.
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