Bashaier: Egypt's Agrifood Network
The Knowledge Economy Foundation (KEF) is a non-governmental organization founded by private sector partners that strives to strengthen supply chains and the Egyptian economy. Its analysis reveals that the major bottleneck in the agri-food supply chain is an absence of market information and of linkages between members of the supply chain, which is hindering small farmers in Egypt. Smallholder farmers dominate Egyptian agriculture. Many sell their staple grain crops through inefficient cooperative groups. Fruit and vegetable producers lack even this support. They are often excluded from all opportunities, except local markets. Their biggest challenge? A lack of marketing knowledge and technical skills to meet quality standards. There are other difficulties. Poor information dissemination in both directions along the supply chain makes it difficult for producers, traders, and retailers to connect quickly. KEF's assessment found that a market support system would require long-term, sustainable private-sector engagement. It could be modelled on information and communications technologies used to share market information elsewhere in the developing world. This project aims to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers through interactive communication and knowledge-sharing tools. The project team will design and test a Web- and mobile-based platform with specialized interfaces adapted to the needs of fruit and vegetable farmers, traders, and sellers in the Beheira and Minia governorates. This platform will facilitate the flow of market and technical information to and from farmers, traders, government experts, food wholesalers, and sellers. The project's outputs will include: -an analysis of the multistakeholder private-public partnership implementing the project; -an impact assessment of the platform for each set of actors; and, -a plan to establish a sustainable business model to help farmers across Egypt.