One of the greatest achievements of the SEKEM Initiative was the change of a law in Egypt, which made it possible to abolish the established practice of spraying chemical pesticides by airplane on cotton fields. Due to the tireless efforts of SEKEM founder Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish and his team of researchers, it was demonstrated in 1990 that yields and efficiency of organic cotton cultivation are not inferior to conventional ones. SEKEM was thus the driving force behind the amendment , which has resulted in a total reduction of almost 90% of pesticide use in Egypt, equivalent to 35,000 tons of pesticides annually.
This year the “Organic Cotton Round Table” (OCRT) took place for the fifth time in Hamburg. More than 200 participants this year, included entrepreneurs, farmers and executives from the textile and fashion industry, exchanged knowledge about cultivation areas, seeds, business models and consumer management.
For SEKEM the CEO Helmy Abouleish took part in the OCRT and discussed with other international representatives within the framework of a panel entitled “Business as if people mattered”. In this context, the SEKEM Chief Executive Officer presented SEKEM’s model of the “Economy of Love” and stressed: “As the pressures we face get bigger and bigger, businesses from all over the world have to rethink their supply chain, changing towards transparency, fair distribution, fair prices and fair treatment. Otherwise, they will not be able to remain competitive in future. ”
With the “Economy of Love” model the SEKEM Initiative shows that not only profit matters, but a respectful approach and a partnership in which both sides can benefit from each other. SEKEM works with more than 500 contracted farmers throughout Egypt to keep track of the various stages of the production, from the cultivation to the finished product. In addition the cooperation with the partners in the value chain is long-term oriented, which guarantees the farmers a stable and secure subsistence.
Sherif Abou El Naga