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Agriculture and Food Security

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A woman packages grapes for export at Esna Packhouse in Luxor, Egypt.
A woman packages grapes for export at Esna Packhouse in Luxor, Egypt.
USAID/Julie Fossler

USAID helps Egypt increase its agricultural productivity and raise farmers’ incomes. Through $1.4 billion in investments to the agriculture sector in Egypt since 1978, USAID provided technical assistance to more than 500,000 smallholder farmers, enabled farmers to purchase land, improved farm management techniques and access to financial services, and liberalized agricultural markets. Through Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, USAID’s approach encourages free-market competition and helps match farmers with local and international buyers to meet market needs and consumer demands. Since the late 1990s, Egypt has increased agricultural export revenue by 1,500 percent with USAID support.

Agriculture is a major component of the Egyptian economy, contributing 11.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The agricultural sector accounts for 28 percent of all jobs, and over 55 percent of employment in Upper Egypt is agriculture-related. Egypt’s agriculture sector is dominated by small farms using traditional practices that do not meet international standards.

USAID’s programs complement each other by enhancing the productivity of the entire agriculture value chain, from farm to table. Working with local associations and cooperatives, USAID helps Egyptian small-scale farmers be more responsive to global market needs. Through training, farmers are able to achieve international quality standards certification, which helps them gain exporters’ confidence in their products. USAID incorporates innovative technologies in cold storage infrastructure and irrigation, and works with farmers on production, post-harvest processes, and marketing so that farmers can sell high-quality produce at higher prices.

Empowering women and developing a strong workforce are essential to ensure the impact of USAID’s work continues long after programs end. This is especially crucial in agriculture, which employs almost 45 percent of women in the workforce. Through work with agricultural technical schools, universities, and research institutions, USAID strengthens the quality of education and creates jobs and internships for students at commercial farms and factories.

CURRENT ACTIVITIES

EGYPT RURAL AGRIBUSINESS STRENGTHENING: Through the Feed the Future Egypt Rural Agribusiness Strengthening program, USAID helps farmers in Upper Egypt and the Delta increase incomes by growing marketable crops that meet international standards for export. Under this program, Egyptian farmers and food processors are establishing connections to domestic and international markets, gaining access to finance, and increasing their adherence to food safety practices. Additionally, the activity assists Egyptian agribusinesses in modernizing their food technology and delivery systems by upgrading processing facilities, refrigeration trucks, and water-efficient irrigation systems. This activity builds on USAID’s previous investments in Egypt’s agricultural sector, including in irrigation infrastructure, the establishment of agricultural associations, and training programs to help farmers transition from traditional staple crops to high-value horticulture.
Implementing Partner: Abt Associates; Life of Activity: August 2018 – July 2023; Total Estimated Cost: $36.3 million; Governorates: Alexandria, Assiut, Aswan, Beheira, Beni Suef, Cairo, Dakahlia, Giza, Gharbia, Ismailia, Luxor, Menoufia, Minya, Qalyoubia, Qena, Sharkia, Sohag.

EVALUATING IMPACT AND BUILDING CAPACITY: In support of evidence-based policymaking, digitalization of public services, and strengthening public-sector capacity, USAID funds the International Food Policy Research Institute through the Evaluating Impact and Building Capacity program. The program contributes to rural income growth, poverty reduction, food security, and nutrition in Egypt. Building on decades of USAID investments to improve agricultural and economic policy in Egypt, this program continues to conduct policy evaluations and assessments, build digital monitoring tools, deliver training, and provide policy advisory services in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, the Ministry of Social Solidarity, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation.
Implementing Partner: International Food Policy and Research Institute (IFPRI); Life of Project: July 2015 – March 2024; Total Estimated Cost: $8.5 million; Governorates: Nationwide.

Last updated: June 13, 2022

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