With its committed farmers in Damietta governorate, SEKEM celebrated the harvest of its Organic cotton for the second year in a row. This initiative started 2017 together with the cooperation with the UNIDO Egyptian Cotton Project. The project was designed to build on over two decades of experience, SEKEM has in Organic cotton cultivation. What made this year particularly special for all, was the presence of international SEKEM friends. The festive event took place on the land of SEKEM farmer Al-Seddik Rashad, who is the head of SEKEM’s contracted farmers in Damietta. He received the guests and invited them to harvest the crops together with him and his colleagues.
“The whole cotton cultivation process was quite successful this year, not only for the SEKEM farmers but also for their neighbours – the farmers who still follow conventional practices,” says Naglaa Ahmed SEKEM’s Cotton Project Manager. “80 conventional farmers, next to 20 others who already follow the Organic guidelines, joined SEKEM’s workshops on sustainable cotton cultivation in Damietta and Kafr El-Sheikh governorates,” she elaborates.
Compared to the cotton season last year, the total organically cultivated cotton area in Damietta increased slightly by about 4%. This season, around 45 hectares of Organic cotton were cultivated by SEKEM under the Organic guidelines. “However, we still have a lot to do in order to disseminate the necessity and to foster sustainable agriculture, which is crucial to preserving soil biodiversity as well as human health,” Naglaa declares.
Thanks to more 380 dedicated SEKEM associated farmers, a total area of more than 390 hectares of Egypt’s land was cultivated this year with organic cotton crops – located in Damietta, Kafr El-Sheikh, Behera, and Fayoum. A total of around 1370 tons of Organic long and extra-long staple cotton is expected as a final yield at the end of the season.
Pioneer of cultural harmony and Organic cotton
SEKEM is known for its leading position in Organic cotton cultivation and production in Egypt through pioneering activities. In the early 1990’s, SEKEM was pivotal in an Egyptian consortium that was the driving force behind a governmental amendment to the law, which resulted in a total reduction of almost 90% of pesticides used in cotton cultivation in Egypt.