SEKEM had not only been pioneering Organic cotton in Egypt, the initiative also guarantees a closed value chain, which is quite unique worldwide.
Hence, SEKEM can determine the conditions of its Organic cotton production and marketing from the farmer to the end-consumer. SEKEM has this concept deeply based in its vision of sustainable development. Especially when it comes to the Egyptian cotton, SEKEM proactively understands the impact of such a crop ecologically and economically.
The Egyptian economy has been facing drastic changes for a long time, especially during the post-revolutionary years. The year 2016, in particular, was a turning point, when three devaluations hit the Egyptian Pound and led to high prices in the local market and high import costs as well. That’s why it became imperative for the concerned parties from the Egyptian government, the public and the private sectors to engage together in export promotion.
However, the year 2016 has been an evidence for a successful contribution between these concerned parties, who could create a new starting point for the cotton crop as one of Egypt’s strategic crops: Egypt’s cotton exports increased by 63.9% in one year, according to the statement reported by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics. Despite the positive effect of cotton in the country’s export strategy, the crop is still subjected to high amounts of chemicals and pesticides in some areas in Egypt.
Pioneers of Organic Cotton in Egypt
SEKEM contributes with its sustainable farming practices to the government’s cotton strategy since the early 1900s: Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, the founder of SEKEM, succeeded with his research team in proving efficient cotton cultivation methods without the use of chemicals or pesticides – this led to a constitutional amendment in 1993, reducing the pesticides use on cotton fields by almost 90%.
[Photo by anjakrueger | Flickr]