Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, April 22, 2019

Climate-Smart Agriculture Solutions for Egypt

18 April 2019. Cairo. IFPRI Seminar. “Climate-Smart Agriculture Solutions for Egypt”

Noting the efforts in the industry to produce climate-smart solutions for agriculture, IFPRI organised with the Center for Applied Research on the Environment and Sustainability (CARES) during the American University in Cairo’s Earth Week celebrations, this event.

As a country that juggles a dry climate, the water demands of irrigated crops, and an increasing and deeply-rooted dependence on crops irrigated by the Nile, Egypt is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Fluctuating levels in the flow of the Nile leave crops and yields at risk, especially during the summer season, while sea-level rise threatens low-lying Delta lands with increased sea water intrusion and increased salinity, resulting in lower levels of fresh water supply.

As Egypt re-writes its Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt’s Vision 2030, recognition of the risks of climate change to the Egyptian agricultural sector and to the economy in general have begun to appear in policy rhetoric. While the opportunities and challenges facing the agricultural sector in Egypt are well known, the related policy advice to address the issues is often overly general and not necessarily targeted at specific regional and farm characteristics. Such policy advice includes increasing water-use efficiency and preserving soil quality; improving input and output marketing; and linking farmers to knowledge and improved agricultural technologies.

Panelists discussed technologies and solutions being adopted in the fields at the different scales, the opportunity and challenges that facilitate or hurdle this, and how it all translates to policy
recommendations.
  • Yumna Kassim, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI Egypt)
  • Richard Tutwiler, The American University in Cairo (AUC)
  • Ajit Govind (see picture), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
    PPT Presentation forthcoming
  • Representative, Ministry of Environment or Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation
  • Assem Sa’eed, Owner of hydroponic and aquaponic farms
  • Nicolas Tremblay, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • Waleed Hassan, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
ICARDA Interview with professor Ahmed Abdellatif Elkhoudy - Professor of Plant Ecology - Desert Research Center about: Cultivating plants in saline soils and making a business

Professor Ahmed Abdellatif Elkhouly answers following questions: 
  • Which plants can be used in saline soils? 
    Halophyte species can be used. A halophyte is a salt-tolerant plant that grows in waters of high salinity, coming into contact with saline water through its roots or by salt spray, such as in saline semi-deserts, mangrove swamps, marshes and sloughs and seashores. 
  • Do you have additional examples? 
    In South East Egypt several medicinal plants have been identified which represent niche markets
  • How did you involve farmers and their link to markets?
    Priority plants and research priorities have been selected together with the farmers during joint working sessions.


Related:
20-21 April 2019. “Enhancing Sustainable Agriculture”. Institute of National Planning (INP), Cairo

Second day: Sustainable management of water resources.
  • Chair: H.E. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid (Former Minister Water Resources and Irrigation, President Arab Water Council)
  • Pasquale Steduto (FAO) see picture Water Scarcity: Establishing a framework for action towards water sustainability 
  • Amgad Elmahdi (IWMI) The water supply-demand gap is widening fast: How to revert this trend? 
  • Bisher Imam (UNESCO)
  • Atef Swelam (ICARDA) 
  • Ebel Smidt (EU Water STARS)
  • Sikandra Kurdi, Associate Research Fellow, IFPRI Egypt
The government of Egypt is now revising both strategies (water and Ag.) and developing a unified strategy on water and Agriculture among all other sectors led by the Ministry of planning. It will be launched on Tuesday April 23rd.

ICARDA Interview with Ebel Smidt (EU Water STARS

The EU Water Sector Technical Assistance and Reforms Support (EU Water STARS) is a thirty months project, funded by the European Union. EU water STARS aims to support the institutional reform of water resources sector in Egypt and to improve the management and use of water resources by improving the operational efficiencies of concerned stakeholders and beneficiaries.

The project is implemented with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, overseen and coordinated by the Head of the Planning Sector of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI).

Mr.  Ebel Smidt (EU Water STARS)  answers following questions about the urgency of
research on water management:
  • How to convince donors for the urgency of research on water scarcity solutions?
The crisis in water management and bringing sustainability to the high level agenda and the public is ENORMOUS. Priority setting is number one. Secondly the correct combining of champions at different levels is essential also to acquire funds. It is important to identify funds which match best your needs. The money is not the real problem (as the technology is not the real problem) but the way you address problems and the agencies in Brussels or elsewhere. that is the major obstacle to innovative research. Don't look first at which funds are available and address your research question tailor made to the funding opportunity. Use new technologies and the youth in their capacity to innovate.
  • How can we reconcile the narrative on migration with the research needs on water management?
The political agenda of the EU it is to increase prosperity in its surrounding areas. Not only for its self interest. But in the interest of the common markets. There is an inter connectivity of economics, politics, sustainability marketing, introducing new technologies. Those who show the interconnection will have access to funding in terms of practical support and in terms of research agendas. 
  • Is there a contradiction between long term research impact and immediate job creation?
It is important to combine them in an appropriate way. the improvement of Monitoring and evaluation systems will help you enormously. On the contrary - those who can show how to overcome this seemingly contradiction - they will be rewarded very rapidly.


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