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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

FAO Answers: How COVID-19 Has Impacted Food Safety in Egypt


Fri 27 Aug 2021 | 01:44 PM
Ahmed Emam

On Aug. 25, the UN information center in Egypt and FAO hosted a workshop to discuss food safety at the local level and organized talks to demonstrate the latest impact of COVID-19 on progress towards achieving SDG12 in Egypt.

Speaking at the UN information center in Cairo, the communication expert at FAO Egypt Rawya Dabi pointed out that COVID-19 has directly affected reliable access to food for a variety of reasons.

She also emphasized that in many Egyptian agricultural workplaces, including food processing and manufacturing sites, the outbreak and the lockdown of the virus were so severe that many employees and farmers were unable to work.

Moreover, there was an increased demand for food from consumers, an increase in food prices, restricted trade, closure of food production facilities, and pressure on overworked employees at risk for this awful virus, she said. "This resulted in a serious impact on the food supply chain and also the food industry," she noted.

"These inevitable outcomes of the pandemic have impacted and affected research and policies related to food safety and food security moving forward, specifically with relation to food production, transportation, and consumption," Dabi noted.

During the workshop, the FAO official also highlighted that through a program called “Food Loss and Waste Reduction and Value Chain Development for Food Security in Egypt and Tunisia - Egypt Component” the Egyptian and Tunisian farmers and agriculture stakeholders were given support on commercialization of crops value chain.

"The share of losses is higher in fruits and vegetables than it is for cereals and pulses," she revealed. "Increased losses of fruits and vegetables by smallholder farmers who couldn’t market their products."

Dabi also added that FAO that is sponsored by the United Nations aims to support and supplement income of Egyptian farmers to improve household income.

In this regard, she said that FAO has assisted farmers to be economically empowered especially after the harsh conditions of floods and Covid-19 that affected many businesses in the county.

In the same vein, she indicated that FAO works to improve economic conditions for the countryside people through financial grants, technical training, and advocacy and policy. Our programs focus on increasing families’ access to healthy, nutritious food and ensuring the cultural well-being of these communities.

"We have provided women and their families with training and resources on best practices for climatic, social, and cultural conditions in the countryside," Dabi told Sada Elbald English (SEE).

"We also work with women in rural Egypt to adopt more productive methods of growing their food to strengthen self-management, resilience, and community-level food sovereignty."

The FAO also coordinated all poultry stakeholders to ensure a direct linkage to market accessibility.

"Through a program like the "Rain program", we have also helped Egyptian farmers and rural women enhance their skills, learn about sustainable cropping systems," she explained.

The program also focused on poultry production from sustenance poultry rearing to a commercial one through value chain addition. FAO consultants were tasked with doing baseline on issues of status of poultry in upper Egypt.

Dabi said that the program also featured feed productions to ensure poultry farmers manufacture their own locally produced feeds instead of buying the commercial ones that are quite expensive.