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FAO and Egypt committed to work together with African countries for agricultural development

Nile Basin and bordering countries benefit from two training courses hosted by Egypt’s EICA through South-South Cooperation schemes

Nile Basin and bordering countries benefit from two training courses hosted by Egypt’s EICA through South-South Cooperation schemes

14 December 2017, Cairo, Egypt – Two successful pilot training courses to support agricultural development in the Nile Basin countries through knowledge transfer and innovative approaches celebrated their closure today.

"We are very pleased with the results achieved. This is just the start of operationalizing the existing MoU between FAO and Egypt to further contribute to knowledge transfer among African countries through South-South Cooperation (SSC)," said Hussein Gadain, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Representative in Egypt.

"Egypt is committing the will to support sustainable agriculture among African countries, by focusing on strengthening the institutional capacities in order to promote the adoption of more integrated and cross-sectorial practices that sustainably increase productivity and production in agriculture, address climate change and environmental degradation," said Ambassador Ahmed Shaheen, Secretary General of the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt.

The courses on "Fish Culture Development" and "Post-Harvest Food Losses" were conducted by Egyptian experts from different Egyptian national institutions, and hosted by the Egyptian International Centre for Agriculture (EICA) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR). They have been organized in partnership with the FAO and EAPD.

"The participants were very excited about the programme as the techniques taught during the training courses fitted the small-scale farmers," commented Dr. Yehia Sayed Mohamed, Director General of EICA.

FAO-Egypt partnership for South-South Cooperation

These activities were initiated under the agreement signed between EICA and FAO with the evident support of EAPD, as part of the broader framework of the Memorandum of Understanding on South-South Cooperation (SSC) between FAO and the Arab Republic of Egypt, which has been renewed in June 2017.

"This is an encouraging start with FAO as a result of the recent FAO Director General's visit to Egypt to achieve greater cooperation and transfer of knowledge experiences between Egypt and its neighboring African countries within the South-South Cooperation framework," said Ambassador Shaheen.

"South-South Cooperation is an excellent mechanism for developing countries to share knowledge and resources in solidarity, and to adapt experiences that have already worked well in one place for the benefit of others," explained FAO Representative in Egypt.

FAO's role is to facilitate the match between the demand and the supply of global expertise thanks to its broad network worldwide, to ensure the quality of the exchange and to provide visibility.

Egypt's experience

Gadain noted that "Egypt has solid experience in fisheries management; specially aquaculture, and reduction of post-harvest crop losses, and this has been a good opportunity to transfer these experiences to African countries under SSC to achieve food security and overcome the obstacles to sustainable development in this region".

These SSC activities are only the latest ones in a long history of the Government of Egypt in development cooperation actions with countries of the African region. In fact, since 1980, the Government of Egypt has carried out numerous activities to strengthen capacities and develop human resources through high-level technical trainings and other SSC actions. Over the years, this has enabled more than 12,000 Egyptian experts to work in various African and Commonwealth countries, and more than 11,000 officials from African and Commonwealth countries have been trained in Egyptian institutions.

Fish Culture Development course

The first training course dedicated to "Fish Culture Development" involved during 10 weeks 16 participants from five selected Nile Bordering countries; namely, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. The course engaged in technical sessions and practical laboratory and field visits covering different areas of the Nile River.

According to Gideon Mwangi Gicheru, Chief Fisheries Officer in Kenya "this course was enlightening especially on how to early detect fish diseases and parasites, thanks also to the availability of excellent facilities and well-trained professionals. I hope more people will have the opportunity to benefit from this training course in the future as I will be recommending it to my colleagues."

Post-Harvest Food Losses

Twenty-seven participants attended the training course on "Post-Harvest Food Losses" for a period of four weeks. Participants were hosted from the same selected Nile Basin countries with the purpose of enhancing their technical and practical knowledge on food value chains and post-harvest best practices. Theoretical lessons were complemented by several field visits to post-harvest facilities in the Delta Region and other areas to provide hands on experiential learning.

"The course provided me with new information and technical skills, particularly for rice production, but also for fruit and vegetable production, on different aspects affecting post-harvest, such as best agricultural practices and good storage facilities," said Ms. Ruth Joel Kuandika, from the Department of National Food Security of the Ministry of Agriculture in Tanzania.
"We hope that these programmes will be developed in the near future to include more countries and participants" Gadain said.


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