The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has officially handed over a solar powered sun-dried tomato processing unit to the Marketing Cooperative for Fruits and Vegetables in Bangar al-Sokar, Nubariya, west of the Nike Delta. This processing unit comes within the context of the project “Food Loss and Waste Reduction and Value Chain Development for Food Security in Egypt”.
Attending the handover event were representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR), the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, Agriculture Research Centre and the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit for Loss and Waste in Agricultural Products.
Based on recommended solutions from the project baseline studies, market assessments and tomato loss analysis in Egypt, the project identified sun-dried tomatoes (SDT) as one of the simple, easy and effective methods to reduce loss and waste in tomatoes and to create local value addition in the agribusiness sector while exploring different marketing channels for tomato growers. The SDT unit is managed by the Marketing Cooperative for Fruits and Vegetables, in collaboration with local MALR authorities and FAO.
In addition to the advantage of reducing tomato losses in Nubariya, the SDT unit helps control the production of tomatoes, and reduces tomato price fluctuations, since the SDT can be stored for up two years. In addition, the SDT unit helps create job opportunities especially for young people and women; reduces the cost of transport; benefits labour by gaining experience thus expanding the business in similar crops such as pepper and eggplants. Finally, it helps open new export markets for the cooperatives through the private sector that exports SDTs to European markets.
“Egypt is one of the world’s largest producers of tomatoes; however, more than 50 per cent of these tomatoes are being wasted during the stages of harvesting and production and during the retail and wholesale stages, along with a significant loss in terms of quality. Therefore, the SDT unit is considered a technical solution which aims to reduce losses under the framework of the project “Food Loss and Waste Reduction and Value Chain Development for Food Security in Egypt and Tunisia” implemented by FAO and funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation ,” Said Hussein Gadain, FAO Representative in Egypt, during the ceremonial handover.
“This project in Egypt focuses on studying tomato and grapes value chains, analysing reasons behind food losses along the value chains and developing a food-loss monitoring system. Hundreds of farmers, agriculture extension engineers, traders and value chain operators have been trained on post-harvest handling and marketing. They have also been trained on studying the environmental impacts of food losses and the possible methods of recycling tomatoes waste,” Hussein said.
19 August 2018