At the end of the four-year Swiss-funded Improving Employment and Income through Development of Egypt’s Aquaculture Sector (IEIDEAS) project (2011-15) participating farmers – 2400 in total – reported US$16,000 in extra annual profit, with a total of US$D27 million added to the sector over the duration of the project.
Increased profitability was achieved primarily through more efficient feed management rather than increased production and this, in turn, resulted in reduced environmental impacts, namely greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient discharges.
The project, funded by the Embassy of Switzerland’s Office for International Cooperation, was implemented by WorldFish in partnership with CARE Egypt and the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation.
The IEDEAS Impact Assessment Report notes that around 2400 fish farmers benefitted from best management practice training, and that 109 million fry of the faster growing Abbassa strain of Nile tilapia were distributed to 459 fish farmers. A total of 1125 women formed six fish retailer organizations under existing community development associations. Due to IEIDEAS sponsored training and provision of small grants for equipment and self-help loan schemes, these women are now able to work together in a group and advocate for their rights with local authorities and other value chain actors, such as wholesalers.
“Switzerland has been committed to investing in environmentally sustainable aquaculture in Egypt since 2011. The IEIDEAS project has multiple economic and social benefits: it provides healthier, lower-cost food, creates jobs and boosts incomes, and empowers female fish retailers to become part of the aquaculture value chain, all of which are important drivers of sustainable development in Egypt,” says Markus Leitner, Ambassador of Switzerland to Egypt.
The impact survey showed that on average, project beneficiary retailers made significantly higher profits than non-beneficiaries. Twenty one village savings and loan association groups were also established helping women in particular escape exploitative credit arrangements and price-fixing.
Malcolm Dickson, Country Program Manager, Egypt: “IEIDEAS has demonstrated a model for aquaculture which can easily be replicated in other parts of the country and help to alleviate poverty and boost production of inexpensive, nutritious and safe fish from sustainable aquaculture systems.”
Moreover, as part of the IEIDEAS project, an aquaculture innovation platform in which stakeholders design structured recommendations on different aspects of aquaculture was established. The platform became an effective vehicle for policy progress in a difficult political environment.
The success of IEIDEAS has resulted in a follow-up project, Sustainable Transformation of Egypt’s Aquaculture Market System (STREAMS), also supported by the Swiss Embassy’s Office for International Cooperation and managed by WorldFish in collaboration with CARE and the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation. STREAMS will continue support for best management practice training and dissemination of the Abbassa strain, encourage the creation of opportunities for small-scale aquaculture and integrated aquaculture-agriculture through pilot-testing and policy change, and improve market prospects for aquaculture products through support of retailers and provision of market information.
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WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research organization that harnesses the potential of fisheries and aquaculture to reduce hunger and poverty. Globally, more than one billion poor people obtain most of their animal protein from fish and 800 million depend on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. WorldFish is a member of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future.
CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. Its science is carried out by the 15 research Centers that are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partners.