Story by Heba Khamis for FAO
In Egypt, growing food requires a mix of agricultural know-how and constant adaptation. In addition, food losses during farming and distribution is a major issue in Egypt. For example, 45 percent of grapes are lost before they reach the consumer, while 50 percent of tomatoes are lost through inefficient practices.
Despite having one of the world’s highest child malnutrition rates, it ranks high on the scale of food waste, with an average 73 kilograms of food thrown away per person each year.
Mabrook recently learned new approaches to pruning, spraying and other practices through the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) training programme, developed in close collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation. The programme, which has already trained some 2 000 farmers, is helping Mabrook learn to recognise and treat diseases and maintain the quality of crops before, during and after harvest. This helps prevent losses along the food value chain, from production to sale.
The most difficult part is when Mabrook waters the grapes because the sprigs, or new stems, are especially sensitive after watering. “I have to make sure there is no damage or rot,” he explains.
“I learned to avoid over-fertilization and losses on the farm. And more importantly, I now know when and how to pick the grapes,” he adds.
Mabrook adapts the techniques he has learned to conditions in the field and also shares what he learns with others.
By training farmers to protect and improve crops in a sustainable manner, while reducing food losses, FAO is empowering them to take action and be a part of the global effort to achieve Zero Hunger.