Agriculture is an important economic sector but faces extreme climate events such as extreme heat.
Photo: © Shutterstock/erichon

International cooperation: Defying Egypt’s heat with agricultural innovation

With 2023 being the hottest year on record, it was most timely to launch the Agriculture Innovation Project in Egypt. This initiative aims to foster the adaption and assure the resilience of farmers most affected by climate change. The project got kicked off via an expert meeting including GIZ, ICARDA, the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation and the Swiss Office for International Cooperation in Egypt.

Egypt is at risk from climate change that is over-proportionally affecting the poor. Climate change studies suggest that extreme climate events such as heat waves and spread of arid zones will reduce crop productivity by 15 to 50 per cent by 2050, affecting the most vulnerable rural communities and adding to Egypt’s food security risk.

Egyptian agriculture is an important economic sector with multi-dimensional challenges. It accounts for 11.7 per cent of GDP, absorbs 25.8 per cent of the working population, and is particularly important for the livelihood of poorer families. Five million smallholders and their families are already suffering from decreased production means, increasing input prices and high inflationary pressures. These combined challenges are exacerbate by limited access to financial services and limited means to deal with the dawning climate change effects, while prices of energy increase and water resources diminish: Egypt faces a classical water, energy, and food nexus challenge.

In this context, the “Agriculture Innovation Project (AIP) II”, (implementation 2023-2028) funded by Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC)  and the German Federal Ministry of  Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by  Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), will focus on climate adaptation and poverty alleviation. It aims to improve income and job opportunities of rural communities in Upper Egypt through the promotion of climate smart and green innovation.

Kick-off meeting to start the AIP project
 

The project inception phase kicked off in November 2023 with an expert meeting with representation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation of Egypt, a team of ICARDA, (the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas), GIZ as well as representatives of the SDC climate and disaster risk reduction and Agriculture Food Systems Networks.

The team discussed the assessment methodology, which would recommend the crop and geographical selection, and take gender inclusion and nutrition into account. Finally the experts exchange about possible climate smart agriculture solutions that would be suitable for the Egyptian small holder context. This was just the first of many consultation meetings of the inception of the project. 

Author: Laila Kenawy, Embassy of Switzerland in Egypt, Office for International Cooperation, contact: laila.kenawy@eda.admin.ch

 

More information on the project:

Visit GIZ Website

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