FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO trains 800 farmers and labourers on improving agricultural practices and reducing loss and waste of grapes and tomatoes in Nubaria, Egypt

Local farmer from Nubaria, Egypt, receiving training on the measurement of sugar in grapes

1 October 2017, Nubaria, Egypt –The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Egypt, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, organized a training program for 800 farmers and labourers in Nubaria, Egypt, on improved agricultural practices to maintain the quality and prevent loss and waste along food value chains.

The training is within the framework of the 'Food Loss and Waste Reduction and Value Chain Development for Food Security in Egypt and Tunisia' project, implemented by FAO with funding from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

With the objective of building capacity in postharvest handling of tomato and grape to reduce food loss and waste, the training program ran from July to September 2017 for 350 tomato farmers in Bangar El-Sokar Area and 350 grapes farmers in Thebes Area. A group of 100 hired laborers was also given hands-on training that coincided with the 2016 harvest season for both crops.

Experts from Alexandria University delivered the trainings utilizing a mix of theoretical and hands-on field demonstrations. They focused on topics covering the entire food value chain, including pre-harvest factors affecting postharvest loss, harvesting, sorting, grading, packaging, storage, food safety, quality control and marketing practices, maturity and proper harvest techniques, standards and quality control for improved marketing, postharvest handling activities and common mistakes that lead to losses with potential solutions.

“Food losses and waste in Egypt are high, especially for perishable products, and this has serious social, economic and environmental impacts. This project aims at increasing the technical and managerial capacity of value chain actors, including smallholder farmers, labourers, traders, and manufacturers, without neglecting women's organizations, in order to improve coordination, preserve quality and reduce losses in food chain activities,” said Hussein Gadain, FAO Representative in Egypt.

“The baseline studies and data for this project estimated the quantitative losses in Egypt to over 45 percent in grapes and over 50 percent in tomatoes at production, retail and wholesale market stages of the value chain. Major quality losses were also observed, which reduces the economic and nutritional value of the food products,” said Jennifer Smolak, FAO Egypt Nutrition and Food Systems Officer.

“Capacity development is one of the most critical solutions to reducing food loss, and we are pleased to work with Alexandria University on this activity to provide information, hands-on training and raise awareness of food loss among smallholder tomato and grape farmers in Nubaria. The next steps in our project will emphasize the postharvest, processing and marketing stages of the value chains, while continuing to build capacity on best practices to reduce food loss,” she added.

The project “Food Loss and Waste Reduction and Value Chain Development for Food Security in Egypt and Tunisia” takes a food value chain approach to food loss and waste reduction to improve the economic and environmental efficiency of the agri-food sectors, via upgraded food value chains.

In Egypt, the project is working with tomato and grape value chains in Nubaria and tomato value chains in Sharqia to provide technical and marketing support to the farmers’ associations and value chain actors. Project beneficiaries will work to create a food processing center that provides services to farmers, with the participation of youth and women. The center will also provide information and training courses, while strengthening the relationship between small farmers, small producers, traders and markets.