FAO in Egypt

FAO and MALR launch a Digital Agriculture initiative in Egypt


Cairo, Egypt - The Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations today launched a digital model of agricultural extension under the framework of enhancing national capacities in information exchange and technology transfer to enhance agricultural productivity within the Country program framework signed between FAO and the Egyptian Government for the period 2018- 2022.

“Digital technology is a technique that can help to face the famine threat and to achieve food security in a world where challenges exist in the nutritional field due to the rapidly growing population growth with the shrinking arable lands, to the decline of workers especially young people from practicing agriculture, as indicated by the International organizations statistics” H.E. Dr. Ezz El-Din Abu Steit, the Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation said at the opening session.

The world is now focusing on modernizing the agricultural sector and paying attention to the smart agriculture application. It is worth noting that the digital technology will revolutionize the world of agriculture and the performance of agricultural operations.

“Such revolution will facilitate obtaining information that can be used as guidance to manage crops and livestock health, this will ultimately help farmers make good and effective decisions in terms on how to best utilize their plant and animal resources” Abu Steit said.

In the recent years, the "digital agriculture" methods have been widely used in many countries, however, the challenges facing the digital agriculture revolution remain in the less developed regions, especially the remote areas, which usually lack the infrastructure of the telecommunications network.

“The agricultural revolution provide two-fold benefits. Firstly, it can help the farmers to reduce the production costs and reduce waste, which will help in streamlining production. Secondly, it can help increasing crop productivity by improving decisions-making methods based on the availability of accurate data” the minster confirmed.

“MoALR is working to activate the role of ICT in the agricultural sector. It is working to raise the personnel’s efficiency and the management of services provided, in order to facilitate citizens’ access to the services provided by the Ministry to support the agricultural system and raise awareness among farmers in Egypt” he added.

The Central Laboratory for Agricultural Climate (CALR) provides agricultural meteorological data in line with agricultural activities, including the use of mathematical models to estimate the daily needs of irrigation, fertilization. The provided data can also help in predicting future diseases and pests and calculating the cold degree needed for fruit trees.

“MoALR is currently establishing an advanced central information center that includes a comprehensive database on animal, poultry and fish production within the National Information Technology Program. Moreover, an epidemiological map of animal diseases have been developed, which helps making a controlling plan. The remote sensing technique is used to monitor encroachment of lakes and agricultural land, and to help put an end to them. It can also help to develop an early warning system to predict transboundary diseases such as Rift Valley Fever” Abu Steit concluded.

The existing agricultural extension applications and the newly developed ones implemented in some countries in cooperation with FAO have numerous benefits as they will help the farmers to reduce production costs and increase land and water units profitability by improving decisions’ making methods through more accurate data.

“FAO is pleased to respond to MoALR’s request for the provision of a digital model of agricultural extension to contribute to the current efforts to improve the extension services in Egypt. The use of appropriate Information Communication Technology (ICT) applications can facilitate the flow of information and access to extension services for the farmers and rural women, it also facilitates access to markets, information and entrepreneurial opportunities”, Hussein Gadain FAO Rep., said.

Based on a survey carried out by the FAO project team, the thematic areas selected for this model are: 1- Citrus, 2- Date Palm, 3- Household Poultry Production, 4- Human Nutrition. The project team members will work closely with the experts from different Research Institutions of the Agriculture research canter to convert the technical content into digital content to be disseminated through the mobile application. This will done in close coordination with the experts in FAO HQ in Rome. 

“FAO participation, along with its partners in the development and implementation of digital inclusion initiatives, in the expansion of innovative digital services, and providing solutions to the needs of poor families is in line with SDGs 2030. A particular emphasis will be put on the needs of youth and women, breaking down the barriers for access and use of information through digital technologies, promoting digital inclusion for smallholders and family farmers,” Gadain added.

Training of Trainers (ToT) programs on the thematic areas and use of the mobile application will be delivered to MoALR extension personnel. Awareness session will also be provided to the farmers to introduce the new application. It will include also a training on how to transfer technical information to the above-mentioned thematic areas, especially for those who do not have smartphones.

It is worth noting that different trainings and awareness sessions will be provided jointly with Knowledge Economy Foundation (KEF). Training extension personnel will help maintaining their status as the traditional source of information for farmers and their families.

In this regards, a media campaign will be conducted to raise awareness and simulate adoption of the new mobile application. This project will take advantage of FAO’s mobile application digital structure located in the FAO Web Cloud and already deployed successfully in several countries such as Rwanda and Senegal.