In 2014, the European Union and Italy’s Directorate General for Development Cooperation launched the European Union – Joint Rural Development program (EU-JRDP), an area-based initiative in three of Egypt’s vulnerable governorates aimed at strengthening agricultural and rural development in the country.
Six years later, the program partners and stakeholders gathered in Cairo on October 4 to share the vast experience and wisdom gained throughout the project.
The successful project demonstrated the importance of including local community members in the decision-making process for the project’s irrigation development and waste management division.
The program partners also recognized the importance of introducing modern technology to agricultural practices in the governorates.
Finally, the project highlighted the need to consider gender inequality in relation to development projects in the region.
The project focused on the social and economic development of Egypt’s Matrouh, Minya, and Fayoum governorates, by educating the area’s inhabitants about sustainable resource management and possible sources for income generation.
An estimated US$38 million was allocated for the project.
Three main problem areas facing governorates were addressed throughout the EU-JRDP: a lack of small non-agricultural businesses, underutilization of modern agricultural technologies and marketing by local farmers, and poor water quality inhibiting efficient irrigation.
Four of Egypt’s ministries worked closely with with the EU and Italian Cooperation to execute the project, including the Ministry of International Cooperation, the Ministry of Local Development, and the ministries of agriculture and irrigation.
The EU-JRDP is part of a larger initiative to mature and sustain Egypt’s rural areas.
The EU has contributed over US$230 million for past and current agricultural development programs in the country, according to Christian Berger, the EU’s Ambassador to Egypt.
The project’s partners hope that future initiatives can use and build on its practices in order to create greater impact and improved sustainability.