Egypt saw the launch of its first dairy cluster in Beheira governorate on Saturday as part of LACTIMED project.
LACTIMED aims to support small and medium dairy producers to meet international standards through a value chain that can be achieved within the cluster.
The European-Union-financed project has been organised by ANIMA investments network in five Mediterranean countries with a total cost of €4.35 million.
"This project is a model that weaves all industry phases in a cluster to be in one geographical location," said Khaled Hanafy, Head of the Internal Trade Development Authority.
Egyptian partners include General Authority For Investments (GAFI), Arab Academy for Science and Technology (AAST) and the German Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GACIC).
"This project allows for industrial integration and development of Egyptian dairy products to eventually export those that are unique to Egypt, such as Oum Ali and Ashoura [Egyptian desserts] and other typical products," Hassan Fahmy, head of GAFI, said in the workshop in Beheira on Saturday.
The workshop was attended by representatives from all the project's partners and financiers. The few dairy producers in attendance were mostly small-company owners who produce and trade milk, cheese and other dairy derivatives. Those producers and farmers working on a lower level were not in attendance.
Mohamed Salama, owner of a small dairy company that employs 20 people, said that his business lacks adequate technology to make use of the by-products of milk production. He said that he ends up throwing away by-products that can be used in medicine and other fields, if treated properly.
Abdallah Daoud, another small dairy company owner, said that he was willing to work with other competitors in the cluster.
"[The cluster] saves me transportation costs and promises to open up opportunities," Daoud said, adding that he hoped those in charge of the cluster would choose another location.
Alexandria and Beheira, 156 km north of Cairo, have around 160 small and medium dairy producers, defined as those who own more than two cows, according to Breksal El-Miligy, assistant professor of International Trade Logistics at AAST and contributor to the cluster's project action plan.
"We do not have a limit to the number of dairy producers who can join us in the project, but those who do must show willingness to learn and develop," El-Miligy told Ahram Online.
When asked how smaller producers who own a cow or two could be included in the project, El-Miligy said that that has yet to be figured out.