egyptEgypt public agricultural extension system that began as a government service in 1953 is a ministry-based system that functions at two levels: the ministry or national level and the implementation level in governorates-districts-villages. At the ministry level, the Central Administration for Agricultural Extension Services (CAAES), one of the seven sectors of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR) is the key national level extension organization. It is comprised of five functioning department that provide technical supervision to extension staff. At the implementation level, extension is organized with administrative and technical staff at the governorates, districts, and villages. In theory, public sector extension in many countries including Egypt tend to serve the vast majority of small farmers while the private sector, suppliers of inputs and other services, and consultant work with large estates and corporate farmers.

title=Extension Providers

Major Institutions providing extension/advisory services in the country

The country initiated a policy reform in the agriculture sector in the mid-1980 to remove stringent government controls on crops and area allotment, prices, input supplies, and marketing, and move agriculture towards a free-market orientation. As a result, output markets were liberalized and quota deliveries for the major food commodities were eliminated. In addition, floor prices were introduced, subsidies on inputs were gradually cut and crop area allotments were eliminated for most crops. While these measures lead to an increase in agricultural production, coordination of extension services among public service providers remained a serious challenge for the government. Thus, a major focus of the extension program in Egypt deals with decentralizing, planning and implementation of extension programs for rural development of field crops, livestock and fisheries, in order to make these programs more accessible and meaningful to farmers. The establishment of Regional Research and Extension Councils and the partition of the country into nine regions is an effort to bring research and extension services closer to farmers, while human development programs aims at revitalizing agricultural extension services.

The overlapping multiple system of public extension is reflected in the large number of extension personnel, estimated at around 25,000 in government services (Rivera et al., 1997).  At the national level, public extension (ministry-based extension system) comprises 7,421 staff, of which 217 are senior staff with a bachelor degree or more and 71% are men. There are 3,704 subject matter specialists who provide backstopping support to the field staff, less than 1% of which have graduate degrees and 19% of which are female.  The field level extension workers represent about half (46%) of the agricultural extension staff, with 68% of them holder of a secondary school diploma, and less than 4% are female. There are two other groups of workers: Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) Support Staff and In-Service Training Staff.  Public sector employs 8 staff that provides in-service training, and 38 workers are involved in ICT support services (Table 1). 

Table 1: Human Resources in the Public Extension Service in Egypt (Ministry-based Extension System)

Major Categories of Extension Staff

Secondary School diploma

2-3 yr. Ag diploma

B.Sc. degree

M.Sc./Ing. Agr. degree

Ph.D. degree

Gender

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

Senior Management Staff

       

61

148

   

1

7

Subject Matter Specialists (SMS)

125

993

   

579

1,986

   

6

15

Field Level Extension Staff

17

2,325

   

110

965

       

Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) Support Staff

       

16

22

       

In-Service Training Staff

       

5

3

       

Total Extension Staff:   7,421               

148

3,349

 

 

771

3,124

 

 

7

22

Source: IFPRI/FAO/IICA Worldwide Extension Study, 2011

Public Sector

Egypt public sector is represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reform, the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI), other public universities and national research institutions.  According to the MEAS report (2011), public extension and outreach to farmers and their communities in Egypt is in great need of reorganization and reinvigoration. Although government extension system is viewed as the least useful to the public, all other extension advisory and service providers are not in a position to cover the entire country. The sustainability of information delivery will require that all public, private and volunteer associations work together to maintain continuity as technology changes. With more than 7000 extension employees, most of which are either poorly trained or nearly retirement, the evaluation team found strong evidence of dedicated  government extension advisors often closely link to farmer and community associations where they were well received. As famers move from basic subsistence food crop to producing agro-export products, their demand for agricultural services and advises increases creating a need for an inter-institutional collaboration to leverage the existing MALR and MWRI capacities to support community and small farm development.   The public sector provides extension services through various departments and institutes some of which are listed below.

Public Extension Institutions

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR) www.agr-egypt.gov.eg, www.agr-egypt.gov.eg/En_Default.aspx 
    • Central Administration for Agricultural Extension Services (CAAES
      • Extension Units and Agricultural Advisory Council Extension Programs
      • Extension Teaching Methods
      • Field Monitoring, Rural Development
      • Communities Department
      • Department of Marketing Extension

Public Research Institutions

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR)
    • Agricultural Research Center (ARC)
    • Desert Research Center (DRC)  
  • National Water Research Center (NWRC)
    • Water Research Center (WRC
  • Ministry of Scientific Research (MSR)
    • National Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (NASRT)
    • National Research Centre (NRC)
  • Ministry of Education (ME)
  • Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MEE)

Non-public Sector 

Private Sector Firms

The private sector, among all service providers to farmers, is known to perform better than public sector because of the resources available to train staff and implement programs. In Egypt, extension in the private sector is conducted by private companies that provide information and advisory services to corporate farms, and consultants who sell their services to large estates, and undertake extension and farm management activities. International donors recognized the strength of private sector in delivering information to farmers and for this matter, allocate substantial amount of funding to this sector. For instance, USAID provided training to private sector staff under the auspices of AERI, ALEB, ATUT, HEIA and others projects. Unfortunately private sector will limit itself or focus narrowly on their product or purchasing needs, ignoring other aspects of environment and community development. For farmers to effectively benefit from local knowledge and integrate this knowledge into the cropping system, private and public sector extension need to work in partnership. The private sector in Egypt includes seed companies, suppliers of other farm inputs, domestic retailers and expor

Non-Governmental Organizations and other Donors

In Egypt, few non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are committed to rural development and none of them is lending support to the work of public sector in extension. In contrast, International Organizations such as the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) play an important role in translating research for development into concrete results at farmers’ level. They are instrumental in providing education, gender development and micro-loan programs throughout Egypt. Many if not all, currently functioning associations were created by development organizations like USAID or NGOs. NGOS and development organizations assist farmers through various projects in addressing agricultural production related activities including post-harvest handling of crops, domestic sales and foreign market export of commodities and goods produced.

Farmer Based Organizations and Cooperatives

Associations are one of the primary conduits of information delivery to farmers (MEAS, 2011). In Egypt, many associations were established under USAID assistance to fill the gap in technical assistance for farmers that is essential for achieving positive rural development, water management and food security. Today less than half of these associations that are still active represent the building block for renewed effort to deliver agricultural extension services to farmers in Egypt. These associations work on a variety of issues, including vegetable production and marketing, livestock production, water management and conflict resolution. A qualitative assessment of associations interviewed by the evaluation team lead to a categorization into four major groups (Table 2)

Table 2: Classification of Associations

Cat#

Category

No. of Assoc. in each Cat. out of 45

Location in upper Egypt

north

middle

south

1

Narrowly focused on agricultural services, and largely dependent on continuing donor assistance to deliver services;

18 (40%)

4

9

5

2

Narrowly focused on agricultural services, but have developed mechanisms for delivering services outside of donor funding;

10 (22%)

4

3

3

3

More broadly defined organizational design – providing a broad-based set of services; including social, educational, gender-based services; with cross-mingling of financing.  Financing is almost always delivered through a combination of local and donated capital assets that are leveraged to finance staff, services and expenses. 

11 (24%)

1

5

5

4

More broad-based service delivery, but with a more pure business model where each part of the of the service delivery design must be self-sufficient.  This virtuous cycle model allows for capacity development and profit centers to experiment with new income-generating ideas.

6 (14%)

4

2

0

Source: Adapted from the MEAS report 2011

List of Extension Providers

icon target The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Egypt. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.

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