Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
Faculty of Agriculture , Ain Shams Univ. PO Box 68 Hadaik, Shoubr, 11241 Cairo Egypt.
Egyptian agriculture used to be nature before 1940. Most of the Egyptian agriculture has been industrialized recently with intensive use of agrochemical. Consequently deleterious hygienic influences of polluted agricultural products and negative environmental impact are documented. Epidemic effects of agrochemical on farmers are becoming an increasing threat. The objective of this presentation is to illustrate the Egyptian organic agriculture state of art, enlargement, progress, constrains and prospective.
Organic agriculture movement in Egypt started seventeen years ago basically to alleviate problems of the residues in the market commodities. Few farmers started biodynamic farming for export. Now this is widely spread among the country and more than 5000 feddans are farmed according to organic and biodynamic standards, namely EEC, Naturland and Demeter. Organic growers produce now for both local and export market.
Understanding organic agriculture aspects as holostic approach now is clear for most organic growers. Farmers are establishing Fences and hedges and integrating animal husbandry with crop production in most farms. Proper crop rotations, farm waste recycling, composting and soil management practices are applied in order to fortify soil fertility and vitality. Techniques of biological control are well developed. Farmers are using mechanical and pheromone traps, sticky yellow sheets, distortion perfumes, BT and local species of bacteria and fungus for pest control. Sulphur, pentonite and lime mixture has been used succesfully for fungus and other mildew diseases control. Weeding is done manually in most cases. Small tools were developed to ease weeding.
Medicinal herbs, ornamentals and spices, (Chamomile, Anise, Coriander, Marjoram, Rosemary, Dill, Hibiscus and Fennel, ..etc.), were produced in the beginning, by the time, vegetables, (pepper,cucumber, Okra, Zucchini, and green beans) in addition to potatoes, onoions, cereals cotton and many other products have been produced originally. One project was started, (Sekem), now there are three other projects dealing with organic agriculture, Union of Growers and Exporters of Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture, (UGEOBA), Agofood Organic and Ekoland. Grower s organizations as well as local inspection and certification bodies were also established. Three organic organizations now are full members in the IFOAM. Social services are provided to small farmers and farm labors in the large scale organic projects. Education, training and medical care are available. Organic farming accomodate large numbers af labor offering solution for unemployment in the neighborhood.
Pricing of Organic products has improved recently when more than one project are in the market. Developing a local market policy and fair trade secure fair price at the farm gate are the major concerns.
Harmonization of the standards of EEC, OCIA, Naturland and Demeter is required. National standards conforming with the above mentioned ones is very important. The Egyptian Center of Organic Agriculture, ECOA took the responsibility of these tasks. ECOA is full independent with no trade interest, nonprofit NGO for promoting organic agriculture, through research, publications, training, conferences and workshops. ECOA provides also inspection and certification for organic producers, processors and traders.
Organic agriculture movement in Egypt has devloped substantially. However more work has to be done. Many aspects of organic farming require assesment. Legislation of organic agriculture is not yet approved by the Egyptian ministry of agriculture. Many biological control agents are very expensive. International inspection services are extremely expensive and have an adverse impact on pricing the organic produces. Applied scientific researches are urgently needed to improve organic farming practices in order to increase the yield and improve the quality of the organic products, consequently encourage more producers to join the movement.