The capacity of Egyptian growers to meet basic food safety and quality requirements is a critical issue to facilitate access to markets and currently one of the main reasons for rejection of products in export markets. Pesticides and chemicals used by growers are of a big concern for Egyptian horticultural production. The non-conformities in the quality of exported produce result in rejection of exported goods, which negatively impacts Egyptian food trade. In addition, the lack of a traceability system represents a huge challenge to national authorities to identify and respond quickly to non-compliant products. With several efforts in place to encourage trade and value addition, the Egyptian government has declared in its strategy (Egypt 2030) that food and food processing are high priority sectors. Improved and enforced food safety standards can optimize Egypt’s processed food sector and promote the country as a supplier of processed and semi-processed food products on international markets. The country’s food safety system is currently being upgraded and needs to be harmonized with international standards and guidelines. The EBRD has been investing in agri-food value chains in SEMED in operations ranging from primary agriculture to processing, distribution and retail. The EBRD has already supported projects in the sector and is considering future financing in specific value chains.
The EBRD and FAO now intend to collaborate to deepen technical assistance in the Egyptian agribusiness sector by strengthening compliance with food safety requirements in horticulture value chains in Egypt. There are two key objectives to the assignment: i) develop and disseminate detailed training materials explaining the new food safety regulations, their implementation, and impact on processors’ ability to export; and ii) provide training, capacity-building and targeted technical support to facilitate compliance with the new food safety standards and adoption of best practices by private sector companies for up to five crops to be determined during the inception phase. The main beneficiaries of the assignment will be private sector companies, and the EBRD will work closely with the National Food Safety Authority in implementation. The proposed assignment builds on successful EBRD-FAO engagement in the Egyptian agribusiness sector. This assignment will build on past work by the EBRD and FAO in Ukraine on mitigating risks related to food safety through promoting market-driven food quality assurance mechanisms and voluntary and self-regulated quality assurance schemes at association level, leading to improved food safety practices and animal health.
- FAO: Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations
- SEMED: Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region
- TC: Technical Cooperation
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