With its committed farmers in Damietta governorate, SEKEM celebrated the harvest of its Organic cotton for the second year in a row. This successful cooperation started in 2017 in the framework of the UNIDO’s Egyptian Cotton Project, 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 very interested young international SEKEM friends who were warmly welcomed by the farmers on the cotton fields. The festive event took place on the land of Al-Seddik Rashad the head of the network of SEKEM’s contracted farmers in Damietta. He received the guests and invited them to harvest the crop together.
“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 in cotton cultivation,” 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 (110 feddans) of Organic cotton were cultivated by SEKEM under the Organic guidelines, like all SEKEMs products – without the use of artificial fertilizers or pesticides. “However, we still have a lot to do in order to disseminate the necessity and to foster sustainable agriculture, and hence preserving soil biodiversity as well as human health,” Naglaa declares.
Thanks to more than 380 dedicated SEKEM associated farmers, a total area of more than 390 hectares (967 feddans) 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. This year, SEKEM created an emotional added value to its Organic cotton harvest – the value of cultural harmony between the farmers and the international SEKEM friends, who together enjoyed collecting the shiny Organic crop.