- François-Xavier Branthôme
Italy funds projects for agri-business development in Egypt
In mid-January, the Italian Development Cooperation disclosed plans to contribute over Euro 4.55 million to two United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) projects in Egypt and Iraq. The announcement was made at the UNIDO headquarters during a signing ceremony to launch the projects.
The Egypt project has been developed after an in-depth analysis of the Egyptian tomato value chain. The project will enhance the linkages between supply and processing factories, improve the quality of tomato production and processing, strengthen the technical skills of workers and managers in the processing factories, and improve existing marketing strategies in order to tap into new markets. It aims at value-addition and enhanced technical capacities of youth, thereby increasing employability and job opportunities.
Egypt produces about 8 million tonnes of fresh tomatoes per year, making it the world’s fifth-largest producer. This can be attributed to the country’s suitable climate, dual seasonality, and fertile lands. But only three to four percent of the tomato crop is processed, and the processing sector suffers from a lack of integration with the supply chain. With the help of this investment, Egypt will be able to make better use of their processing factories, while tapping into various markets.
The unemployment rate in Egypt decreased to 7.8 percent in the third quarter of 2019, compared to 10 percent in the same period a year earlier and 7.5 percent in the previous quarter. With this new initiative, the rate can further decrease as it will be creating more job opportunities for people.
“Italy has always been an effective advocate of UNIDO and of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We share a common vision to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development to tackle inequalities at all levels,” said Li Yong, UNIDO Director-General, while expressing his appreciation of Italy’s important financial and political support.
The project will be implemented with the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, as well as the local private sector, which will be the initiative’s primary beneficiary.
Some complementary data
Over the past three years, Egyptian tomato paste exports amounted around 11,000 metric tonnes per year; they are mainly oriented Western and Eastern European Union and Middle East.
Source: moderndiplomacy.eu, venturesafrica.com, freshplaza.com