AKDN’s Rural Development programme in Egypt was established in 2007 through Om Habibeh Foundation in Aswan in South Egypt. The programme was designed to improve the productivity, market access and agricultural practical knowledge and technical capacities of smallholder farmers in Aswan. The programme also promotes environmentally sound agricultural practices and supports the creation of an enabling environment for agricultural economic activities within the local villages where it operates. In this manner, the project aims to generate additional income for farming communities while improving the nutritional intake of families.
The programme supports the local farmers also through advocacy workshops and farming technique seminars covering important topics like composting methods, alternative vegetable cultivation, biological controls, applicable protected cultivation techniques and perforated pipes. To empower local farmers, the programme has also actively participated in building bridges with local government bodies in Aswan. AKDN’s Rural Development programme in Egypt has also contributed significantly to the inclusion of Egyptian female farmers in the agriculture industry. The programme’s efforts have also resulted in active female participation in the agricultural civil societies and corporates by including female board members within their structure for the first time within those communities. More women are becoming proactively involved in the local economy and agricultural sector through home-based kitchen gardens and rooftop gardens that the programme has helped them establish; leading to increased household income and improved family nutrition. Through its continuing agriculture activities in Aswan, the initiative strives to continue supporting this unprecedented participation of female citizens in programme activities, whilst supporting and empowering the local agriculture sector. To date the programme has provided over 6,000 farmers with capacity building on improved farming techniques. The programme has also supplied agricultural inputs including seven tractors, four seed nursing units and one wheat seed outlet. Through the Rural Development activities, five new crops have been introduced to the local farmers’ community. The programme has also supported the development of an improved agricultural supply chain by establishing six outlets for purchasing of agricultural inputs and ten produce collection points for the local farmers.