In the past, Egypt has been a place that is dominated by small acreage farms, which utilize old farming practices. As a result of those practices, many of the farms produced low yields and low-quality crops, which lead to little to no profit. Many of the farmers in Egypt have known that they are using outdated practices, but have never had access to resources that could help them adopt current farming practices. Other farmers are more resistant to changing their farming practices because, the practices were what they learned from their fathers and grandfathers; using the same farming methods as their ancestors are seen as an important tradition to maintain to certain local farmers.
Starting in 2014, the USAID partnered with local farmers to improve their practices, which helped to increase their incomes. Over 13,000 farmers learned new practices which included how to properly apply and store pesticides as well as proper hygiene techniques. The USAID also taught local farmers the importance of creating and maintaining records so they could realize which locations of different farms were outperforming, and which locations were underperforming.
Some farmers were initially reluctant to change their farming practices due to the long-standing tradition within their family of how to farm, but that soon changed when they saw the increasing yields of neighboring farms. Additionally, the USAID helped farmers to form relationships with international buyers, as long as the local farmers became certified. These new relationships between local farmers and international buyers greatly increased the income for local farmers.
Since the quantity and quality of food being produced within local farms have increased, the amount of crops exported from Egypt grew exponentially. In the year 1996, only 8,000 tons of grapes were exported. In contrast, during the year of 2016, 118,000 tons of grapes were exported. Overall in 2016, Egypt saw a stunning $2.2 billion worth of fresh fruit and vegetables be exported.
Due to the increase exports, which lead to an increase in income, farmers are seeing big changes taking place. Hundreds of jobs have been created, and farmers have also been able to expand and buy new farms as well. The expanding farms, paired with better farming practices have caused Egypt’s produce export to grow at a substantial rate. Farmers also have been able to afford to send their children to acquire an education due to the increased income. Other farmers have been able to upgrade homes. Overall, many local farmers within Egypt are beginning to see an overall increased income due to changing farming practices, which is leading to a better relationship with international buyers.