NL-Masr PharosFarm: Exploring future lighthouse farms in Egypt
Egypt has the challenge to provide a growing population access to safe and sustainable diets and meaningful employment in a context of water scarcity and climate change. Egypt is the agrifood heart of the Mena region, but its two major farming systems: commercial agriculture in the new lands and smallholder agriculture in the old lands are not future proof as they tend towards chemical input intensive monocultures, with limited crop rotation. Water availability is a challenge, as irrigation water is limited by rotation schedules. In new lands, farmers unsustainably draw on finite groundwater reserves, depleting fresh water and increasing water and soil salinity. In the old lands, water quality is deteriorating due to chemical intensive farming practices, irrigation, and wastewater management practices and salt water intrusion through ground water in the northern Delta. Increasing soil salinity is a consequence of unsustainable intensive farming practices and intensive water use. Chemical contamination of soils and water creates food safety challenges and limits market access.
The project contributes to the development of innovation pathways for the purpose of sustainable agricultural production systems in three regions in Egypt, addressing quality production, nature inclusive principles, integrated and responsible farming practices, competitive and profitable production of safe and healthy food. In addition, the project addresses aspects of social responsibility, human resources, knowledge and research agenda's. With partners from Egypt and The Netherlands, farmer respresentatives, research, industry, trade, retail, policy makers and education, a process of dialogue and inspiration will lead to designing models for integrated production that are suitable to be demonstrated to inspire agri entrepreneurs in Egypt.