egyptEgypt public agricultural extension system that began as a government service in 1953 is a ministry-based system that functions at two levels: the ministry or national level and the implementation level in governorates-districts-villages. At the ministry level, the Central Administration for Agricultural Extension Services (CAAES), one of the seven sectors of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR) is the key national level extension organization. It is comprised of five functioning department that provide technical supervision to extension staff. At the implementation level, extension is organized with administrative and technical staff at the governorates, districts, and villages. In theory, public sector extension in many countries including Egypt tend to serve the vast majority of small farmers while the private sector, suppliers of inputs and other services, and consultant work with large estates and corporate farmers.

Extension Providers

Major Institutions providing extension/advisory services in the country

The country initiated a policy reform in the agriculture sector in the mid-1980 to remove stringent government controls on crops and area allotment, prices, input supplies, and marketing, and move agriculture towards a free-market orientation. As a result, output markets were liberalized and quota deliveries for the major food commodities were eliminated. In addition, floor prices were introduced, subsidies on inputs were gradually cut and crop area allotments were eliminated for most crops. While these measures lead to an increase in agricultural production, coordination of extension services among public service providers remained a serious challenge for the government. Thus, a major focus of the extension program in Egypt deals with decentralizing, planning and implementation of extension programs for rural development of field crops, livestock and fisheries, in order to make these programs more accessible and meaningful to farmers. The establishment of Regional Research and Extension Councils and the partition of the country into nine regions is an effort to bring research and extension services closer to farmers, while human development programs aims at revitalizing agricultural extension services.

The overlapping multiple system of public extension is reflected in the large number of extension personnel, estimated at around 25,000 in government services (Rivera et al., 1997).  At the national level, public extension (ministry-based extension system) comprises 7,421 staff, of which 217 are senior staff with a bachelor degree or more and 71% are men. There are 3,704 subject matter specialists who provide backstopping support to the field staff, less than 1% of which have graduate degrees and 19% of which are female.  The field level extension workers represent about half (46%) of the agricultural extension staff, with 68% of them holder of a secondary school diploma, and less than 4% are female. There are two other groups of workers: Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) Support Staff and In-Service Training Staff.  Public sector employs 8 staff that provides in-service training, and 38 workers are involved in ICT support services (Table 1). 

Table 1: Human Resources in the Public Extension Service in Egypt (Ministry-based Extension System)

Major Categories of Extension Staff

Secondary School diploma

2-3 yr. Ag diploma

B.Sc. degree

M.Sc./Ing. Agr. degree

Ph.D. degree

Gender

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

Senior Management Staff

       

61

148

   

1

7

Subject Matter Specialists (SMS)

125

993

   

579

1,986

   

6

15

Field Level Extension Staff

17

2,325

   

110

965

       

Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) Support Staff

       

16

22

       

In-Service Training Staff

       

5

3

       

Total Extension Staff:   7,421               

148

3,349

 

 

771

3,124

 

 

7

22

Source: IFPRI/FAO/IICA Worldwide Extension Study, 2011

Public Sector

Egypt public sector is represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reform, the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI), other public universities and national research institutions.  According to the MEAS report (2011), public extension and outreach to farmers and their communities in Egypt is in great need of reorganization and reinvigoration. Although government extension system is viewed as the least useful to the public, all other extension advisory and service providers are not in a position to cover the entire country. The sustainability of information delivery will require that all public, private and volunteer associations work together to maintain continuity as technology changes. With more than 7000 extension employees, most of which are either poorly trained or nearly retirement, the evaluation team found strong evidence of dedicated  government extension advisors often closely link to farmer and community associations where they were well received. As famers move from basic subsistence food crop to producing agro-export products, their demand for agricultural services and advises increases creating a need for an inter-institutional collaboration to leverage the existing MALR and MWRI capacities to support community and small farm development.   The public sector provides extension services through various departments and institutes some of which are listed below.

Public Extension Institutions

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR) www.agr-egypt.gov.eg, www.agr-egypt.gov.eg/En_Default.aspx 
    • Central Administration for Agricultural Extension Services (CAAES
      • Extension Units and Agricultural Advisory Council Extension Programs
      • Extension Teaching Methods
      • Field Monitoring, Rural Development
      • Communities Department
      • Department of Marketing Extension

Public Research Institutions

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR)
    • Agricultural Research Center (ARC)
    • Desert Research Center (DRC)  
  • National Water Research Center (NWRC)
    • Water Research Center (WRC
  • Ministry of Scientific Research (MSR)
    • National Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (NASRT)
    • National Research Centre (NRC)
  • Ministry of Education (ME)
  • Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MEE)

Non-public Sector 

Private Sector Firms

The private sector, among all service providers to farmers, is known to perform better than public sector because of the resources available to train staff and implement programs. In Egypt, extension in the private sector is conducted by private companies that provide information and advisory services to corporate farms, and consultants who sell their services to large estates, and undertake extension and farm management activities. International donors recognized the strength of private sector in delivering information to farmers and for this matter, allocate substantial amount of funding to this sector. For instance, USAID provided training to private sector staff under the auspices of AERI, ALEB, ATUT, HEIA and others projects. Unfortunately private sector will limit itself or focus narrowly on their product or purchasing needs, ignoring other aspects of environment and community development. For farmers to effectively benefit from local knowledge and integrate this knowledge into the cropping system, private and public sector extension need to work in partnership. The private sector in Egypt includes seed companies, suppliers of other farm inputs, domestic retailers and expor

Non-Governmental Organizations and other Donors

In Egypt, few non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are committed to rural development and none of them is lending support to the work of public sector in extension. In contrast, International Organizations such as the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) play an important role in translating research for development into concrete results at farmers’ level. They are instrumental in providing education, gender development and micro-loan programs throughout Egypt. Many if not all, currently functioning associations were created by development organizations like USAID or NGOs. NGOS and development organizations assist farmers through various projects in addressing agricultural production related activities including post-harvest handling of crops, domestic sales and foreign market export of commodities and goods produced.

Farmer Based Organizations and Cooperatives

Associations are one of the primary conduits of information delivery to farmers (MEAS, 2011). In Egypt, many associations were established under USAID assistance to fill the gap in technical assistance for farmers that is essential for achieving positive rural development, water management and food security. Today less than half of these associations that are still active represent the building block for renewed effort to deliver agricultural extension services to farmers in Egypt. These associations work on a variety of issues, including vegetable production and marketing, livestock production, water management and conflict resolution. A qualitative assessment of associations interviewed by the evaluation team lead to a categorization into four major groups (Table 2)

Table 2: Classification of Associations

Cat#

Category

No. of Assoc. in each Cat. out of 45

Location in upper Egypt

north

middle

south

1

Narrowly focused on agricultural services, and largely dependent on continuing donor assistance to deliver services;

18 (40%)

4

9

5

2

Narrowly focused on agricultural services, but have developed mechanisms for delivering services outside of donor funding;

10 (22%)

4

3

3

3

More broadly defined organizational design – providing a broad-based set of services; including social, educational, gender-based services; with cross-mingling of financing.  Financing is almost always delivered through a combination of local and donated capital assets that are leveraged to finance staff, services and expenses. 

11 (24%)

1

5

5

4

More broad-based service delivery, but with a more pure business model where each part of the of the service delivery design must be self-sufficient.  This virtuous cycle model allows for capacity development and profit centers to experiment with new income-generating ideas.

6 (14%)

4

2

0

Source: Adapted from the MEAS report 2011

List of Extension Providers

icon target The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Egypt. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.

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Enabling Environment

Enabling (or Disabling) Environment.

In Egypt, many associations established under USAID assistance are providing extension and advisory services to a large number of farmers. The excellent and long-standing USAID efforts in agriculture have equipped farmers with appropriate resources to increase crop productivity and overall agricultural production. Farmers are already using cell phones to share information and extension workers have access to computers but no internet connectivity in the field. A variety of information and communication technologies for agriculture and extension has been developed and is being implemented in Egypt. The best source of extension information farmers need could only come from MARL (through ARC) and MWRI (through NRWC). However, the lack of coordination between the two ministries (MARL and MWRI) responsible for collecting research findings and popularizing them so that the content is expressed in a format that farmers can easily understand and use is a serious issue to be addressed. 

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ICT

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Agriculture and Extension

An effective technology transfer program is based on good communication among researchers, extension agents, and farmers. To accomplish this goal, several extension teaching methods (on-farm, field days, meetings, visits, extension training, bulletins, media, technical consultation, exhibition and national campaign) have been used by researchers and extension workers to accelerate the transfer of new agricultural technologies to farmers. In modern Egypt, there is more than 100 percent penetration and use of cell phones for farmers (considering that some farmers have more than one cell phone and that some additional family members also have their own cell phone). Four centers for media support have been established for serving rural development targets, the governorates included in its geographical boundaries by several activities through audio – visual tools, extension publications, and training programs. Each one has a full board accommodation for trainees, visitors and active in participation in the extension campaigns, rural development programs training of post graduate students. Some associations are using cell phones and other means to get marketing information to members. The use of computers and internet connection by farmers is still limited. More need to be done to expose Egyptian farmers to existing ICT technologies currently in use in other parts of the world.  

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Training

Training for Extension Professionals 

Training can play an effective role in strengthening agricultural technology in Egypt. One of the major issues for all extension advisory services in Egypt is the limited training and/or experience of new hires coupled to a system with little continuity education to keep service providers technically current. Active in-country training programs of research and support staff within ARC as well as others outside ARC have gained top priority and number of trainees. A mechanism is needed to improve the training of those who enter the service as well as for a program for continuing education and life-long learning. The MEAS team proposed that a Network of Certified Advisor that would link advisory services from all sources in a community of practice and provide shared knowledge through regularly sanctioned  training programs for credit to maintain certification be established.

  • National Agricultural Research Program (NARP
  • Agricultural Technology Utilization and Transfer Project (ATUT)
  • Agriculture-Led Export Business (ALEB)
  • Agricultural Policy Reform Program (APRP)
  • Agribusiness Linkages for Egypt (AgLink)
  • AERI Dairy and Livestock Program (AERI D&L)
  • Agricultural Exports and Rural Income (AERI)
  • Horticultural Exports Improvement Association (HEIA)
  • Egyptian Agricultural Competitiveness Assessment
  • Four Thousand Tons per Day
  • Value-Chain Training (VCT)

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References

References

Christiansen, S., A. Swelam, J. Hill, S. Gasteyer, and B. Swanson. 2011. Scoping Mission: Assessment of Agricultural Advisory Services in Upper Egypt. Sustaining Active and Efficient Associations. Final Draft Submitted to USAID/Liberia, August 2011. www.meas-extension.org

Rivera, W. M, E. M. Elshafie, and K H. Aboul-Seoud. (1997). The Public Sector Agricultural Extension System in Egypt: A Pluralistic Complex in Transition.  Commentary. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education. Fall 1997.

Statistical Indicators                                                                                               

Egypt                                                                                                                           Year

Agricultural land (sq km)

35,420

2008

Agricultural land (% of land area)

3.6

2008

Arable land (hectares)

2,773,000

2008

Arable land (% of land area)

2.79

2008

Arable land (hectares per person)

0.03

2008

Fertilizer consumption (per ha of arable land)

724

2008

Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

13.7

2009

Food production index (1999-2001 = 100)

139

2009

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

10.7

2008

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)

17.2

2008

GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)

2,070

2009

Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)*

   

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

   

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

   

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)

   

Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

37.6

2007

 

50.6

2008

 

66.7

2009

Internet users (per 100 people)

14.8

2007

 

16.6

2008

 

20.0

2009

Population, total

82,999,393

2009

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

83.4

2009

Rural population

47,508,853

2009

Rural population (% of total population)

57.2

2009

     

Agricultural population* 

23,879,000

2008

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

29

2008

Total economically active population in Agriculture*

6,908,000

2008

Total economically active population in Agriculture (in % of total economically active population)*

26

2008

Female economically active population in Agriculture (% of total active in agriculture)*

40

2008

         

Source: The World Bank, *Food and Agriculture Organization FAO

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