H.E. Mr. OKA Hiroshi, Ambassador of Japan to Egypt signed and exchanged notes with Mr. Nasredin Hag Elamin, Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Egypt, regarding the provision of a grant aid 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 witnessed by key stakeholders in Egypt with regard to this project: 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, H.E. Elena Panova, UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt and Dr. Aly Abousabaa, Director General of International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
The project will support the Egyptian government’s efforts to ensure food security by increasing water productivity in agriculture and resilience to climate change. It will target small-scale farmers in rural areas of Upper Egypt and the Nile Delta with the introduction of 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. In addition, the project will collaborate with Tottori University in Japan, which is highly knowledgeable about dryland agriculture, and JICA’s “Improving Small-scale Farmers’ Market-Oriented Agriculture Project” (ISMAP) to increase farmers’ incomes.
“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 done 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 field of the water sector, due to its’ limited water resources and the negative impacts of climate change on water sector, 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.
“Proud to witness the signing of one of the first projects within the new five-year Cooperation Framework between the Government of Egypt and the United Nations in Egypt, focused on enhancing water productivity in agriculture through increased water efficiency for improved lives of small farmers” Elena Panova, UN RC said.
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 work and cooperate closely with the Government of Egypt to establish robust food security, aiming to deliver affordable, safe, and nutritious food to each and every person. Ambassador Oka added that this project will have strong synergies with Haya Karima initiative with coincidence of the target areas of the initiative, and will also contribute to the NWFE (the Nexus of Water, Food, and Energy) programme, which is led by the Ministry of International Cooperation.
Dr. Nasr El-Din Hag Elamin expressed his deep thanks to the Japanese government for providing support for the implementation of this project in Egypt. “This contribution will be achieved by improving the utilization of water 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; to increase crop yields by between ten and 20 percent; and increase household income by at least 20 percent – after two cropping seasons.