Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat met on Monday with Dina Saleh, the Regional Director for the Near East, North Africa and Europe at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) of the United Nations, to discuss expanding projects and outlining future areas of cooperation to enhance food and nutrition security and support resilient livelihoods.
The minister noted that the projects will align with the ministry’s principles of economic diplomacy to strengthen the ‘Global Partnerships for Effective Development.’
The projects aim to primarily build the capacity of Egyptian farmers and improve their access to knowledge, finance, and markets, as well as support micro-enterprises and modern climate-smart farming practices, said Al-Mashat.
She added that the inclusion of women and youth is also prioritised to ensure the sustainability of communities.
The minister noted that Egypt is implementing a number of notable projects including sustainable transformation for agricultural resilience in Upper Egypt (STAR), which is expected to benefit around 1.2 million people by strengthening rural institutions, supporting women-owned micro enterprises and farmers’ access to markets.
The minister emphasised that agriculture is one of the most vital and important sectors for national development, representing 14 percent of Egypt’s GDP growth, and constituting 28 percent of job opportunities and 55 percent of rural employment.
Al-Mashat added that there have been special programs for the agricultural sector, such as the allocation of funds to local farmers to maintain local production and harvest, as well as digitalisation to ensure that farmers receive constant information on sanitation and food safety standards in order to export fresh products to Europe and the MENA region.
For her part, Dina Saleh affirmed IFAD’s readiness to provide support to the Egyptian government to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural sector.
IFAD has invested a total of $392.7 million in programs and projects related to agricultural development in Egypt since 1979, among the most important projects being the West Nubaria Rural Development Project, the Sohag Rural Development Project, the Upper Egypt Rural Development Project, the Agricultural Production Intensification Project, the Fayoum Rural Development Project, the Minya Rural Development Project, and the West Beheira Settlement Project, according to the international cooperation ministry.