Focus group meeting for Egypt

In an enthusiastic spirit to kick off MED Food TTHubs stakeholder activities in Egypt, representatives of the country’s authorities, agro-food industry and business networks joined a Focus Group meeting on the 27th of September. The meeting organised by AASTMT was held on-line due to the new rules on social distancing driven by COVID-19 pandemic and was intended for the local stakeholder groups to reflect upon how their vision for agro-food and agriculture in Egypt aligns with that of MED food TTHubs.

The Egyptian Focus Group comprised of 6 leading experts, reflecting a good blend of different organisation types, stakeholders and expertise across the local agro-food supply chain, all of them motivated to strengthen the agro-food supply-chain of Egypt on a long-term basis. More specifically, Mr. Ashraf Abo Ismail (Member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce, CEO at SONAC Group Societe Nationale Du Commerce), Mr. Ahmed Sakr (Member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce, CEO at Sakr for Food Industry), Mr. Ahmed Moustafa Hamed (Member of the Board of Directors of EIFFA, CEO at Safety Link), Mr. Mohamed FatHalla (CEO at Fathala Gomla Market), Mr. Aly Kassam (Supply Chain Manger), and Dr. Amgad El Kady (Executive Director of the Food Industries Technology and Food Processing Center) were engaged to provide the project with meaningful insights into the interests, views and needs of aggro-food supply-chain stakeholders based on their experiences and expertise.

The event opened with an introductory speech by Prof. Yasser Dessouky, Dean of Scientific Research and Innovation. During his speech, Prof. Dessouky introduced the MED Food TTHubs project, its purpose and its main goals among the participants and gave further context on how the project relates well to consumers’ expectations as well as to food industries’ ambitions for safer and more sustainable Mediterranean food products.

After that, Prof. Sara El Gazzar, the Dean College of International Transport & Logistics, and her colleague, Dr. Ghada Elkady, presented the global trends in the Agriculture and Argo-food supply-chain industry in Egypt and analysed traceability and authenticity control system and the integrated framework applied on the agro-food sector, focusing on the most exported processed fruits and vegetables. In addition, they noted the importance of the stakeholders’ participation and how their contribution will be efficiently affecting the progress of the project. Attendees collaborated in plotting the focus group timeline and products’ list for the project’s pilot activities.

The discussion led to a better understanding of the whole agro-food chain from farm to fork, shedding light on the current challenges facing the sector of processed vegetables in Egypt as regards the manufacturing process, transportation, traceability and quality control systems, legislations, exporting rules and regulations.

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