FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO and leaders of cooperative associations draw up a nationwide plan to develop the agricultural cooperative sector in Egypt

@FAOEG- Group photo of the Agri Cooperatives workshop’s participants

Red Sea, Egypt, 26 March 2017

As part of a project to support cooperative reforms in Egypt, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) organised a fourth workshop at the Red Sea Governorate from 26 to 28 March 2017. It focused on the creation of a dialogue platform on cooperative reforms, the assessment of the impact of amendments to the existing cooperative law, the formulation of a common vision on the future of the cooperative sector, and the development of a unified national action plan. The project to reform the cooperative sector is implemented under the auspices of His Excellency Dr. Abdel Moneim al-Banna, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR).

Government officials, technical experts from FAO and MALR, and representatives of cooperatives participated in the three-day event, which was held in cooperation with Canada’s Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA).

Hussein Gadain, FAO Representative in Egypt, said: "By the end of the fourth workshop, we expect to agree on a unified national action plan combining the action plans of Upper and Lower Egypt and including certain measures identified after an analysis of the legal aspects of the new law. The parties will also better understand the changes in the law and agree on the principles governing the creation of a national dialogue forum."

FAO held two separate meetings in February for representatives of agricultural cooperatives in Upper and Lower Egypt to agree on two action plans and implementation strategies to develop the desired cooperative sector in the next seven years.

Engineer Ezz al-Arab Ahmed Salama, head of the Central Administration of Agricultural Cooperation at MALR said: "The project provides an opportunity to create a cooperative dialogue platform to support and reform cooperatives. Cooperative officials seek to activate the law by setting up a cooperative bank in implementation of Article 17 of the law and enforcing amendment 204 of 2014 on the establishment of a fertilizers factory and crop marketing companies for cooperatives and the participation of cooperatives in the ownership and reclamation plans within the 1.5 million feddan project."

For his part, Project Consultant Mohammed Abd-al-Al said: "This workshop is part of a series of working meetings and activities that we hope will lead us to a national programme for the development of agricultural cooperatives in Egypt."

Agricultural cooperatives in Egypt are among the largest in the world, grouping over 7,000 organisations and 18 million members, with high potential to provide various services to the Egyptian economy. The Egyptian government, therefore, sought to help cooperatives and grant them further economic freedom to play their roles through Law 124 of 2014, which amended Law No. 122 of 1981.