Mona Mehrez, deputy minister of agriculture for livestock, fish and poultry affairs, together with Yehia Aboul Fotouh, vice chairperson of the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) and Mohsen Mahgoub, fund secretary and member of the board of trustees at Misr El Kheir Foundation, signed a cooperation protocol that aims to provide an integrated package of financial services and technical support to develop livestock projects.
Through this protocol, new farms will be established, and the capacities of existing farms can be well-utilised. This can happen through providing the required amount of funding for farm inputs, including livestock with strong genetic characteristics, contributing to enhancing the abilities of these projects and increasing their productivity, in addition to training and offering technical support during the entire period of the projects, whether in terms of feed for the livestock, or regular check-ups on their condition.
According to Mehrez, the protocol is a continuation of the cooperation and coordination taking place between the ministry, Ard El Kheir Company, and the NBE. It is also an extension of the protocol signed on 28 December 2017 between the ministry and the bank to fund livestock, fish, and poultry projects, within the ministry’s keenness to implement the its plan to support and develop these resouces in Egypt, eventually providing protein from many sources for Egyptian citizens at reasonable prices and high quality.
Mehrez added that the protocol included providing the required technical support to owners of livestock projects, as well as financial services, to contribute to funding the purchase of breeds with superior genetic characteristics.
She stressed the importance of concerted efforts by all the state’s institutions to reduce the gap between local production and consumption, pointing out that statistics have shown self-sufficiency in terms of red meat, ranging from 30-90%.
She also added that a field survey was conducted last year on 29,000 farms in Egypt. The results have shown that the capacity of these farms covers only 25% of the available areas, and the remaining 75% are empty.
She explained that the protocol will fill the gaps in these farms and provide employment opportunities for young people through providing them with projects inside these farms. She noted that Misr El Kheir Foundation will train these young people.
According to Aboul Fotouh, this protocol comes within the framework of activating the NBE’s strategy to support and develop small and medium enterprises (SMEs), especially in the agricultural and livestock field.
He explained that the protocol aims to provide an integrated system of financial and technical solutions, through which the necessary funding can be provided and be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Ard El Kheir , ensuring a quick implementation of these projects for their added value to the economy and their ability to provide jobs and fill the food gap.
Aboul Fotouh added that these projects can be funded within the framework of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE)’s initiative to support SMEs.
“The NBE takes into consideration the special nature of these projects, as the funding is made available in accordance with easy and simplified procedures to be suitable with the nature and reality of these projects, ensuring good quality and quick decision-making by all the credit centres and the various branches of the bank across the country,” Aboul Fotouh said.
He noted that the funding available from the NBE for livestock development projects is estimated to be EGP 1.2bn for nearly 74,000 projects.
Aboul Fotouh added that the NBE’s SMEs direct loans portfolio is estimated to be EGP 40bn, provided to 60,000 projects. It is planned to increase to EGP 100bn over the next three years, which shows the attention the bank pays to this specific field, he said.
According to Mohsen Mahgoub, within the protocol, an integrated package of technical services will be provided, starting from providing training to farm owners to choosing the projects eligible for benefiting from the protocol.
He also added that the company will determine the technical aspects of each project, such as the capacity of farms, the extent to which they are suitable for raising livestock, and providing the projects’ inputs, in addition to providing technical support in general during the phase of feeding and providing nutrition for the livestock, along with helping with the marketing of the products of these farms.
Mahgoub pointed out that a follow-up committee will be formed to determine the status of the funded cattle herds and a technical opinion will be provided about their status, which is expected to leave a positive impact on the funded projects.