Based on recommended solutions from the project baseline studies, market assessments and tomato loss analysis in Egypt, the project identified sun-dried tomatoes (SDT) as one of the simple, easy and effective methods to reduce loss and waste in tomatoes and to create local value addition in the agribusiness sector while exploring different marketing channels for tomato growers. The SDT unit is managed by the Marketing Cooperative for Fruits and Vegetables, in collaboration with local MALR authorities and FAO.
In addition to the advantage of reducing tomato losses in Nubaria, the SDT unit helps control over production of tomatoes, as well as reduce tomato price fluctuations, as the SDT can be stored for up 2 years. In addition to that, the SDT unit helps create job opportunities especially for youth and women; reduces the cost of transportation; benefits labour by gaining experience thus expanding the business in similar in such as pepper and eggplants. Finally, it helps open new export markets for the cooperatives through the private sector that exports SDTs to European markets.
“Egypt is one of the world’s largest producers of tomatoes; however, more than 50% of these tomatoes are being wasted during the stages of harvesting and production and during the retail and wholesale stages, along with a significant loss in terms of quality. Therefore, the SDT unit is considered a technical solution which aims to reduce losses under the framework of the project “Food Loss and Waste Reduction and Value Chain Development for Food Security in Egypt and Tunisia” implemented by FAO and funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation ,” Said Hussein Gadain, FAO Representative in Egypt, during the ceremonial handover.
“This project in Egypt focuses on studying tomato and grapes value chains, analysing reasons behind food losses along the value chains and developing a food-loss monitoring system. Hundreds of farmers, agriculture extension engineers, traders and value chain operators have been trained on post-harvest handling and marketing. They have also been trained on studying the environmental impacts of food losses and the possible methods of recycling tomatoes waste, “continued Hussein.
“The Italian cooperation strategy with Egypt accords high priority to support the agriculture sector and rural development, through financing a series of projects in line with the Egyptian government’s plans to develop this vital sector. Among these projects, the one in subject, which aims at reducing agricultural crop losses. We look forward to this SDT unit to be the core of introducing this new technology, aiming at reducing losses in major crops such as tomatoes and increasing its value. As a result, Egyptians farmers will receive a profitable income, thus improving their social-economic conditions.” said Ismail El Faramawy, Senior Agricultural Expert, Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.