Japan Signs Grant of USD 3.8 Million for Food Security in Egypt
Cairo, Egypt - March 9, 2023 - H.E. Mr. OKA Hiroshi, Ambassador of Japan to Egypt, signed and exchanged notes with Mr. Nasredin Hag Elamin, Representative of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Egypt, regarding the provision of a grant of 520 million yen (approximately 3.8 million US dollars) to support the Government of Egypt to improve agricultural productivity for food security in Egypt.
The signing ceremony was attended by the representatives of the key stakeholders in Egypt involved with the project, namely H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Hani Sewilam, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Dr Abdulhakim Elwaer, Assistant-Director-General and Regional Representative of FAO for the Near East and North Africa and Mr. Aly Abousabaa, Director General of International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and Regional Director CWANA (CGIAR).
H.E Ambassador Oka expressed that, in addressing food security, which has been destabilized by the Ukraine crisis, it is important to take an approach that focuses on "each and every human being." The Government of Japan will cooperate closely with the Government of Egypt to establish robust food security, aiming to deliver affordable, safe, and nutritious food to "each and everyone". Ambassador Oka added that this project will have strong synergies with the Haya Karima initiative, overlap with the target areas of the initiative, and contribute to the NWFE (the Nexus of Water, Food and Energy) programme, which is led by the Ministry of International Cooperation.
The project will support the Egyptian government’s efforts to ensure food security by increasing agricultural productivity and resilience to climate change. It will target small-scale farmers in rural areas of Upper Egypt and the Nile Delta by introducing modern irrigation facilities and solar-powered pumps, the installation of agri-voltaic greenhouses, and the provision of highly efficient attachments for agricultural tractors and heat and saline-tolerant crop varieties. These targeted technology packages will support small-scale farmers facing the effects of global instability and climate change by significantly boosting crop yields and increasing irrigation efficiency.
The newly signed project will also build on the decades of collaboration between ICARDA, FAO, and Tottori University in Japan. ICARDA has conducted important collaborative research work with Tottori University, especially the Tottori University Arid Land Research Center (ALRC), in the fields of water and land resource management in dry areas. Since its establishment in 1977, ICARDA has continued to collaborate with FAO’s regional and national offices on several projects and initiatives targeting food security, agricultural productivity, and natural resources management.
“Enhancing food security and livelihoods of small farmers to improve water productivity in agriculture is a core priority for the Government of Egypt. Contributing to “Haya Karima” and falling within the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2023- 2027, which includes investing in human capital and environmental sustainability, this project, in partnership with the Government of Japan and FAO, capitalizes on integrated and innovative solutions to achieve food security and supports the improvement rural communities. The project also presents new solutions in transitioning towards a low carbon climate-resilient agriculture sector while also complementing the country platform for the Nexus of Water, Food, and Energy (NWFE) Program,” Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat said
Prof. Dr. Hani Sewilam, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, expressed his deep thanks to the Japanese government for providing support for this important project and FAO, the implementing partner of this project that aims to improve the utilization of water for agriculture, enhance water unit productivity and increasing water efficiency. “Egypt faces many challenges in the water sector due to its’ limited water resources and the negative impacts of climate change, increasing water requirements due to high temperatures. Thus, the Egyptian government is implementing major projects to increase water use efficiency and maximize water unit productivity,” Prof. Sewilam, stressed. “Some of these projects are the modernizing irrigation networks through the rehabilitation of canals and meskas, converting to modern irrigation systems taking into consideration various local conditions while expanding the use of solar energy to pump water on meskas” he added.
Dr. Nasr El-Din Hag Elamin expressed his deep thanks to the Japanese government for supporting this project's implementation in Egypt. “This contribution will be achieved by improving water utilization for agriculture and increasing agricultural productivity for smallholder farmers and raising incomes and creating economic opportunities for poor rural households”. HagElamin added that in this context, the Project aims: to increase the efficiency of water use by smallholder farmers by at least 20 percent, increase crop yields by between ten and 20 percent, and increase household income by at least 20 percent – after two cropping seasons.
Consumer culture is an overlooked aspect of water resources management but is a key area in water productivity. Food waste is water waste,” said Dr. Abdulhakim Elwaer, Assistant-Director-General and Regional Representative of FAO for the Near East and North Africa.