Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, and Elena Panova, UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt, have visited Minya governorate in Upper Egypt to inspect new schools launched under the Sustainable Agricultural Investments and Livelihoods (SAIL) programme in Aljehad village.
Supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Cooperation (IFAD), the project comes in the light of the strategic partnership between Egypt and the UN.
Mohamed Ibrahim Abid, Deputy Governor of Minya, and a working team of representatives of the IFAD, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) participated in the visit.
The SAIL programme is one of the ongoing projects in partnership between the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation and the IFAD, under the umbrella of national state priorities and the strategic partnership between Egypt and the UN, as it aims to achieve comprehensive rural development by supporting youth and farmers through agricultural extension services, marketing and awareness of the importance of early warning, agricultural innovation and technology and sustainable farming systems. The program also provides various sources of income for beneficiaries of youth and women, in addition to increasing productivity and empowering small farmers, preserving animal breeds and enhancing pollinator technology.
Through the project, work is being done to achieve the maximum benefit of 40 thousand rural families, provide support to more families in neighboring areas and provide social and economic services, along with the availability of 172 livestock development projects, supporting 3,440 beneficiaries, including 2,400 men and 1,040 women to adopt smart agricultural practices and technologies that take into account climate action and enhance the management of natural resources.
Within the framework of the integrated support and partnership between the UN and its agencies and the Egyptian government through joint programs and coordination of efforts between international agencies, the FAO is implementing one of the main components of the project entitled “Agricultural Development and Diversification through Improving Agricultural Production Services” by focusing on the farmer field school methodology, which focuses on collective, market-based agricultural extension and participatory learning. Approximately 176 field schools have been implemented.
Also, through the project, 240 relevant parties in the governorates will be trained to raise awareness of the needs of smallholder farmers. In this context, 125 beneficiaries from local communities will be trained on how to effectively promote the practices and technology of Climate-Smart Agricultural techniques (CSA) and Natural Resource Management (NRM) by implementing 66 farmer field schools, and preparing 20 senior trainers to monitor and supervise farmer field schools.
The project achieves many national goals in light of the international SDGs, especially the SDG 1: No Poverty, SDG 2: Zero Hunger, the SDG 5: Gender Equality and SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth. It also comes within the axes of sustainable resource management, natural resources, women’s empowerment, and comprehensive economic development in the United Nations Partnership Development Framework (UNPDF) 2018 – 2022.
Al-Mashat and the UN delegation were keen to hear a detailed explanation from field school facilitators and field officials about the SAIL, to learn about the progress made and to listen to the farmers’ requirements and the benefits achieved on the ground.
Elena Panova, the UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt commented: “Our joint action here, collectively as the UN, with the Government of Egypt and development partners, is designed to address the needs and priorities of local communities with solutions that capitalize on the vast capacities and talents of smallholder farmers and young people that are here in Minya”. She added that one of the primary objectives of the cooperation framework between the UN and Government is “serving the needs of communities at the local level – the district and village, especially in minimizing gender, digital and economic disparities.”
Nasredin Hag Elamin, FAO Representative in Egypt, said that the SAIL programme contributes significantly to empowering farmers, and smallholders, enhancing their income, increasing profitability, and diversifying their livelihoods, which contributes to achieving the goals of the Egyptian government’s sustainable development strategy: Egypt’s Vision 2030 and Egypt’s Strategy for Sustainable Agricultural Development (SADS-2030), and it also contributes to making agriculture more productive and sustainable while preserving natural resources and utilization Al-Rushaid Water.
We are very proud of our fruitful cooperation with the Government of Egypt and the SAIL project team that continues to make a strong impact on increasing the income of smallholder farmers, building their capacity for employment and improving agricultural production.” Mohamed Abdelgadir, IFAD.
During her review of the project, the Minister stressed the importance of the projects implemented with the IFAD over the past decades, which strengthened the Government of Egypt’s efforts in achieving agricultural and rural development, raising the living standards of farmers, and providing employment opportunities, pointing out that the coming period will see more joint work with the IFAD, in light of the upcoming United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2023 – 2027, especially at the level of the food pillar within the Nexus for Water, Food and Energy program (NWFE Program), through which many projects will be implemented and support the agricultural sector to promote food security in Egypt.