Consultation on financial mechanisms for agriculture

The Cairo Water Week 2023 offered the opportunity to the EU funded project “Water and Environment Support (WES) in the ENI Neighbourhood South Region” to discuss with stakeholders the results of the project’s activity aiming at “assisting Egypt in developing financial mechanisms for the management of water resources at on-farm level” during a side event carried out on November 1st , 2023, in close coordination with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI), and the EU Delegation to Egypt.

The meeting was honored by the presence of H.E. Hani Sewilam, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt, who joined its first session.

Water economy and rationalization in agricultural water use is absolutely necessary. This can be achieved by developing and/or improving financing mechanisms to support farmers in purchasing water-saving equipment and enabling irrigation investments and therefore facilitate improved water network management and resource efficiency at farm level. These issues were addressed through a WES activity in Egypt that that started back in 2020.

This consultation allowed for WES experts to present the results of the activity and introduce the methods and practices that were investigated in case studies with significant financial reforms in the agricultural sector related to the financing of irrigation investments and equipment.

Indeed, the cases studies from Morocco, Portugal and Turkey showed many “basic characteristics” similar to Egypt and were selected for further analysis. In addition, some financial reforms that are already implemented in the Egyptian context on a smaller scale, were proposed and subtle changes have also been suggested.

The findings and proposed recommendations were discussed among the participants from relevant bodies ranging from ministries in charge of Water and Irrigation, Agriculture, Environment and Land Management, water utilities, municipalities and NGOs.

WES National Meeting

The Consultation was followed by a WES National Meeting during which the participants were introduced to what has been achieved so far in Egypt through the WES project’s activities, followed by a discussion on possible future actions in the country, in a framework of cooperation and future synergies with the WES Project and its successor project for 2024-2028.

Press Conference

On the 2nd of November 2023, the results of the consultation workshop, but also useful information on the two WES water activities in Egypt, were presented at the EU Press Conference which was organised by the EU Delegation to Egypt.

H.E. Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt underlined the importance of the EU funded WES Project with its 76 national and regional water and environment activities that are developed not only in Egypt but also in 7 other Partner Countries in the MENA region, since 2019.

Professor Michael Scoullos, WES Team Leader, underlined that WES is pleased to have assisted the Egyptian authorities in approaching the priority outcome of the National Water Recourses Plan, namely the increase of agricultural water productivity. The study compared already existing financing initiatives in Egypt (Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) arrangements, solar powered and drip irrigation, etc.), to financing mechanisms to support farmers in selected countries (Portugal, Morocco, Turkey) and suggested feasible reforms including on the criteria for farmer credit, capacity building, etc. “The Cairo Water Week”, added Prof. Scoullos “offered the opportunity to present and discuss the work with key stakeholders within the wider context of the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) nexus and adaptation for sustainability, while the very useful ideas that were presented by stakeholders will be considered in the planning of the new phase of the WES project scheduled for the period 2024-2028.”