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Abt’s Technical Assistance in Egypt Helps Women Farmers Grow Their Income
Asmaa Mahmoud, 38, is an entrepreneur from Armant, Luxor. She owns a small grocery store in her hometown. She also volunteers at the Rowad El Mostakbal Association, supporting event logistics and administrative tasks. “I have been volunteering with the Association for the past seven years,” said a passionate Asmaa, who completed her bachelor’s degree from the Institute of Social Service. “It fills me with utmost pleasure and joy when I am given a chance to serve my community and lend a helping hand to those in need.”
The Rowad El Mostakbal Association’s vision is to encourage male and female smallholder farmers to grow cash crops that have export opportunities that will increase their income and to improve the health and economic situation of women and youth. The Association signed a cooperation agreement with the Feed the Future Egypt Rural Agribusiness Strengthening Project, a USAID funded activity, two years ago to build the capacity of its members. Even with the emergence of COVID-19, the Project continued to provide support and shifted from in-person activities to remote technical assistance.
Through the project, Abt provided technical assistance that benefited both individual members and the association as a whole. “We received training on developing crop budgets, marketing, farming as a business, negotiation and contracting skills, and gender concepts such as gender equality in agriculture and rural development,” explained Asmaa. “The learning kitchen was also a definite highlight. Women learned how to cook healthy, nutritious food from locally available and low-cost products.”
The pandemic has negatively impacted many Egyptians, including Asmaa, who suffered a significant dip in her income driven by higher prices of goods and reduced sales at her grocery store. To supplement her income, Asmaa combined what she learned from various Project capacity-building activities and began making date jam and date paste with her sister at home and selling it at her grocery store and in neighboring communities. As a result of her training, she was able to calculate her expenses more accurately and negotiate a fair price for her products. As a result, Asmaa has increased her income by 10 percent to 15 percent, enabling her to afford home renovations while saving extra income for the future. And, with her expansion into food processing, she will also create more job opportunities.
“I am gaining experience and learning one step at a time,” explained Asmaa. “My aim is to improve the packaging of the product and sell my products to the bakeries in Armant.”
Food Security & Agriculture in Middle East & North Africa