A total of 70% of biodynamic products produced in Egypt are exported to Europe, the US, and Japan amongst other countries, according Atteya Sobhi, Manager of the Egyptian Biodynamic Association (EBDA).
The value of exported biodynamic products is typically over EGP 200m annually, Sobhi told Daily News Egypt. He added that the total space of lands cultivated through biodynamic methods is 7,000 feddans [7,266 acres].
Biodynamic products are found in certain stores such as Carrefour and Metro, and are sold at premium prices. Only a certain class and a limited number of people are aware of the concept and its health benefits, thus the amount of production is still small compared to conventional farming.
SEKEM is a leading producer of biodynamic products, and introduced the idea into the Egyptian market, Sobhi said.
He added that it is a private company that does not receive government subsidies, but provides support to farmers who apply biodynamic agriculture on their lands.
To apply biodynamic agriculture, farmers should abide by the standards set by Demeter International Association.
Demeter is a worldwide certification system which is harmonised between countries, with national Demeter Associations in a number of countries.
The EBDA is the local entity responsible for providing training and the needed expertise for farmers developing the biodynamic according to the association’s standards.
Talking to Daily News Egypt, Demeter Germany CEO Alexander Gerber said there are approximately 80 operators in Egypt certified by Demeter, specifying that those 80 operators represent 400 farmers.
One of the most important companies that has been granted the Demeter certification is SEKEM, whereby 76 of the certified operators have contracts with SEKEM, according to Gerber. The rest however are independent and they export oils and potatoes, amongst other products, directly to Europe.
Depending on energy and the prices of energy subsidies, organic products are, in the future, expected to have lower prices than conventional farming products, said Cristoph Simpleudoler, Member of the Board at Demeter International.
“If the space of land cultivated in Egypt through biodynamic standards increases to, say, 250,000 feddans instead of the current 7,000, prices of biodynamic products can definitely decrease in the future,” Sobhi noted.
Biodynamics is a clean and healthy method of organic farming that involves using natural manures and composts, instead of artificial chemicals and harmful pesticides on soil and plants.
Biodynamic products produced in Egypt include, cotton, rice, vegetables, fruits, honey, and herbs amongst others.