Research: The Future of Agriculture in Egypt

1000 565 Social Initiative Forum

Engr. Thoraya Seada, Dr. Ramy Mohamed, and Engr. Dalia Abdou of the Carbon Footprint Center published a comparative study last May 2020 on Egypt’s Organic and Conventional Crop Productions Systems, concluding that organic-biodynamic agriculture is an effective way of addressing the high carbon emissions caused by agriculture. The findings also show how organic food is more economical than its conventional counterpart if the “true cost” is considered. “The Future of Agriculture in Egypt” is a continuation of the 2016 research by the Carbon Footprint Center in cooperation with the Faculty of Organic Agriculture at Heliopolis University for Sustainability. It is endorsed by the World Future Council, IFOAM – Organics International, and Biodynamic Federation – Demeter International e.V. – NA 

Research by Carbon Footprint Center: Engr. Thoraya Seada, Dr. Ramy Mohamed, Engr. Dalia Abdou | Source: “The Future of Agriculture in Egypt: Comparative Study of Organic and Conventional Crop Production Systems in Egypt”. May 2020. Version 2. Egypt.

The Future of Agriculture in Egypt: Carbon Footprint Center [EG]

Introduction It is important to realize that agriculture and forestry have been the largest contributors to climate change over the past 200 years. According to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2019), direct agriculture and forestry and other land use (AFOLU) are responsible for nearly 23 percent of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

“Direct” in this context means that energy and transportation used in agriculture have not been taken into account, but only factors such as soil nitrogen, biomass burning, fertilizer production, animal husbandry, and irrigation.

Conversely, this also means that sustainable agriculture, especially the “Biodynamic” approach, offers solutions.

The presented version is subsequent to the previous version: The Future of Agriculture” which was written by Carbon Footprint Center (version 1, 2016).

The objective of the study was to analyze the economic costs for five of the strategic crops that are growing in both old and new land in Egypt in 2019 and comparing these results of 2015, thus getting an overview whether the organic or the conventional growing system is ecologically and economically more sustainable for the long-term future:

  1. cotton
  2. maize
  3. potatoes
  4. rice
  5. wheat

Full Cost Accounting One of the main objectives of this study is to raise awareness of the external effects of agriculture on the environment and society. The external effects are described as all unintended effects on the life of one person occurring during an action done by another person, which can be any action in daily life as well as any economic activity. Examples for human actions like this could include even one person spewing smoke into the air or dumping litter on the highway (Buchanan and Stubblebine, 1962).

Throughout this study, the most important examples for external costs are soil erosion, atmosphere damage through GHGs, and water damage, which are described in more detail in section 3 “Methodology”. In this study the term “Damage Costs” is used as an equivalent for the more commonly used term of ”External Costs” and they include particularly “Environmental Damage Costs”. Right now these damage costs are being paid by the society and future generations. An internalization by, for example, an environmental tax would represent a cost shift from the common responsibility to the responsibility of the polluter.

Conclusion Organic farming has proven to be remarkably effective in reversing the negative impact of agriculture on the environment.

The research concludes that although organic agriculture has a slightly higher direct input cost of production, it enables a reduction of the environmental damage costs, and therefore, results in better cost-effectiveness and profitability in the long term for society as a whole.

The study shows that, with regard to prices, organic food is in fact already cheaper to produce than conventional products, if the externalized costs for pollution, CO2 emissions, energy, and water consumption are considered.

These are currently transferred to society or future generations, but if they would appear on supermarket bills, this would already be obvious to everyone.

The agricultural inputs in organic farming systems are not subsidized but they improve the soil structure, maintain water quality, increase soil organic matter, increase biodiversity, and yields while decreasing the total cost to produce one ton of any crop.

Even if the selling price of organic products was equal to conventional products, the organic products would still be more profitable for the farmer and cheaper for the society, when including the true cost.

Continue reading here: The-Future-of-Agriculture-in-Egypt-study2


“The Future of Agriculture in Egypt: Comparative Full Cost Accounting Study of Organic and Conventional Crop Production Systems in Egypt” is conducted by the Carbon Footprint Center in cooperation with the Faculty of Organic Agriculture at Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development, Egypt.

 

Engr. Thoraya Seada finished her training in Sustainability, CSR, Carbon Footprint, and Environmental Services at the Queen’s University of Ireland, and Carbon Footprint Assessment and Water Footprint Assessment at Heliopolis Academy. She is currently the Project Manager of the Carbon Footprint Center. Dr. Ramy Mohamed is a consultant for the Egyptian Biodynamic Association (EBDA) and the coordinator of Administration, Projects, and Training in SEKEM Group for 11 years. He is a consultant for Compost and Plant Nutrition at SEKEM and a lecturer at the Faculty of Organic Agriculture in Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development. He received his Ph.D. degree in Organic Agriculture Sciences in the field of Agriculture Engineering (Bio-Systems Engineering). Engr. Dalia Abdou started as a Planning and Quality Assurance internal auditor. She later joined SEKEM as Project Manager in Business Development – assisting in the establishment of Renewable Energy Systems. She is working as the Project at the Carbon Footprint Center. Source: Carbon Footprint Center & Nadine Greiss (Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development) | Photo: SEKEM

 

 

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