Name Magrabi Agriculture (MAFA)
GGN 6221153000004 Website http://www.magrabi-agriculture.com/
Country Egypt

Profile

Magrabi Agriculture owns and centrally manages Magrabi Farms (MAFA), one of the best fruits and vegetables growers and exporters in Egypt and one of the first to obtain GLOBALG.A.P. certification in the country, a long-time GLOBALG.A.P. member and have helped many farms to obtain GLOBALG.A.P. certification as well as active participation in establishing the Egyptian NTWG. The farms hold many certifications including the following: ISO 22000, OHSAS 18001, LEAF, Albert Heijn Protocol, M&S Field to Fork, Tesco Nurture, organic, Bio-dynamic, Bio-Suisse, Soil association, BRC, IFS, Fair-trade, SEDEX and ISO 17025 for the laboratory.

“Our commitment to high standards of quality, ethical, social and environmental responsibility has made us a brand name of excellence.”

 

Achievements

Social Responsibility, Youth and Woman
Magrabi believes that the employees are the asset of the company and the driving force for development and quality achievements. There have been some arrangements for employees youth and women including the following:

  1. Education of Youth and Women
    Illiteracy is one of the problems that face Egyptian youth especially in the rural areas due to the hard living conditions. Magrabi has exhorted some efforts to help young people get opportunity to learn and overcome illiteracy including:
    1. Establishment of illiteracy classes for field workers and some classes are located in the villages in the nearby villages and all classes are funded by MAFA.
    2. MAFA is paying school fees for 2 children of each employee on an annual basis.
    3. Participation in building a basic education school for local community near the farms.
    4. Help employees seeking scholarships or higher diplomas with 50% of costs.
    5. Optional kindergarten is provided for the children of employees.
    6. Health Care for Youth and Women
      1. Medical care service is provided for employees, their families and local villages through a prepared clinic with full time employed doctor and staff, medical examination and analysis for blood, urine and stool, ultrasonic scan. The clinic is equipped with an ambulance car to serve employees in the farms and serve local community upon request.
      2. Establishment of a charity optical hospital in Nobaria City for eyes examination and operations at low prices to serve employees and local community.
      3. Establishment of a Sports and Social Club for Youth
      4. Transport & Education for Workers: Buying buses for employees to help in transportation to and from work for lower price for the employees suffering from bad transport routes. For other workers the company is paying about 50% of the study cost.

Water Management
A water management plan is available and includes:

  1. Using the most efficient computerized drip irrigation system. It is worth mentioning that our water quota is 137 million m3 and we are using 48 million m3 and have saved 89 million m3. This has been achieved through the switch from flood irrigation to drip irrigation.
  2. The water use plan is linked to sensors installed in the soil and a weather forecasting unit installed in the farm.
  3. Use of mulch and organic composted materials has helped reduce water use by more than 5%.
  4. Water risk assessment to identify risks on water quality and the company has established laboratories for monitoring water chemical and biological properties.
  5. Water usage plans are established by qualified experts to calculate exact water amounts needed for the crops.
  6. The company has established a weather forecast unit to monitor weather conditions.
  7. Each crop requirements are determined according to the crop nature, weather conditions, soil monitoring, etc.
  8. The new crops are assessed in terms of water consumption before establishment as we are aware of the water problems all over the world.

Integration of Smallholders

  1. MAFA (Magrabi Farms) was the first EUREPGAP certified farms in Egypt and is a leading member in the newly established GLOBALG.A.P. National Technical Working Group (NTWG Egypt), and has translated the first Arabic version of the GLOBALG.A.P. Standard and is participating in the regular review in translation with the NTWG.
  2. Magrabi has helped many farms to implement Good Agricultural Practices and obtain GLOBALG.A.P. certification in Egypt under option 1 and option 2. This helped improve the economic and social levels of the farmers.
  3. Magrabi Agriculture has been a GLOBALG.A.P. member for years, actively participates in conferences, and provides advice and consultation when required.

Increasing Biodiversity
Magrabi Agriculture depends on experts in biodiversity management and has subcontracted experts who have technical knowledge about biodiversity and conservation such as FWAG in the UK ,which has been reviewing and developing our conservation, biodiversity, water and soil management plans.

  1. Biodiversity audit and plan has been reviewed and developed by a FWAG experts based on the information taken from the farm staff and walks through the farms. Geographically, MAFA farms are located in reclaimed desert area where water and vegetation has been provided to desert land, a positive side effect of which has been the improvement of fauna and flora presence in the farms.
  2. The plan for the future is to target some native species and find different ways to enhance. A project has been started to increase population of butterflies by growing flowering plants in some field margins.
  3. Some banks have been dedicated for wild life where for example flowering plants are grown to provide nectar for butterflies and other insects. This will be through depending on the consultation of experts including national organizations who have more experience with the national fauna and flora.
  4. Conversion of some farms to organic has helped increase the population of wild life as it is safer when it comes to toxic pesticides.


Success Stories

  1. Success Story with Sustainable Farming and Pest Control
    Magrabi Agriculture/MAFA farms are located in a desert reclaimed area north of Cairo the capital of Egypt. The land has been desert for years before being reclaimed and water being introduced to create life in the desert. This has created jobs for thousands of people and has encouraged different wildlife species to come and seek habitats in the area. Magrabi Agricultural has been adopting Good Agricultural Practices which helps in the production of safe food while reducing adverse effects on the environment and worker health and safety.
    Considerable parts of the farms have been converted to Organic farming.
  2. Success Stories with Integrated Crop Management (ICM)
    The farms owned and managed by Magrabi Agriculture are now working according to ICM principles which include the application of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). We have some targets to reduce pesticides and chemical fertilizers applications through depending on different techniques. This includes the following:

a) Some farms have been transferred to organic farming.

b) The company has a plant disease analysis laboratory doing analysis of strawberry fungus. The detection of the various viroids and the Viral diseases, such as Phytophthora Cactorum, Phytophthora Fragariae, Verticillium Dahlia, Colletotichium Gloesporioides, Rhizoctonia SP, Macrophomina Phaseolina, Botrytis Cinerea, Xanthomons Fragariae, Phoma Trcheiphila.

c) This year we have almost stopped using chemicals for mites (acaricides) in strawberry and some crops. This has been done through establishing and expanding a natural predator mites rearing unit working at the moment for the production of predator mites. These mites are released in the fields to eat the bad mite and go away. This has been very successful in strawberry and now moving to other crops. This in turn helps in reducing pesticides applications which means less harmful residues in the fruit and reduces adverse effects on the environment and worker health and safety.

d) Pest monitoring techniques has been more developed by depending on weather forecasting and pheromone traps. Weather forecasting unit is now working in the farm.

e) A new technique has been introduced to control worms in most vegetables by using electric fly killers in the fields to attract moths at night and break down the worms’ life cycle.

f) Magrabi Agriculture has some cooperation with The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and started a project of establishment of green houses for vegetables (Melons, Watermelons, Tomatoes, Capsicum) production by using special types of root stocks which can avoid some plant diseases.

g) There is a move towards depending on organic fertilizers rather than chemical fertilizers through increasing the composting unit. Green waste is collected and composted in the unit to be incorporated in the soil.

h) The company have established some laboratories to ensure safe and high quality food including microbiological analysis laboratory for the products, water, swabbing etc., chemical analysis laboratory for soil and water, plant tissue culture laboratory, calibration laboratory and plant disease analysis laboratory.

Soil Management
Soil management plan include soil analysis for effective fertilizer application, improving soil structure and fertility by incorporating organic matter and crop debris. The pruning materials in the orchards (e.g. citrus and grapes) are shredded and incorporated into the soil. Green waste from the crops are collected and composted before being incorporated in the soil to reduce nonorganic fertilizer applications.

Carbon Footprint
Magrabi Agriculture finished the comprehensive full product cycle calculation the product’s entire supply chain carbon footprint for our citrus, strawberries, grapes, capsicum, lettuce, herbs and flowers. Thus, Magrabi Agriculture is able to offset its CO2 emissions and offer CO2 Neutral products to its clients. Future targets to reduce carbon emissions include:

  1. Increase depending on sea freight shipping as a cleaner choice in CO2 emissions. Many trials have been done and have been successful for some crops but this is still challenging for some sensitive crops like soft fruit but the trials are being done.
  2. Replacing diesel with electricity in some farms as a cleaner source of energy.
  3. Rationalizing and reducing energy consumption through energy efficiency audits to find ways for reducing energy such as replacing old lights with energy saving lights and installing thermostat in production greenhouses.

Waste Management
A detailed waste management plan has been developed where waste from each process is identified and ways to manage each waste is sought. This includes and not limited to the following:

  1. Most of the farm waste is recycled.
  2. Composting units have been established to be used for composting green waste which is positively released according to microbial limits and incorporated to the soil.
  3. Waste collection containers and designated areas are identified.
  4. Pruning materials are shredded and incorporated into the soil.
  5. Plastics and packaging are collected and reused wherever possible or sold to contractors for recycling.
  6. Wooden materials are reused/recycled wherever possible.
  7. Sediment fertilizers are collected and incorporated in the compost.
  8. Fertilizers and pesticides containers are collected and sold to contactors for recycling.

Organic
A considerable part of the fields has been converted from conventional to organic production. Organic, Demeter, Soil Association requirements are adopted. The move towards organic production results in a much cleaner environment.

Energy Efficiency

  1. Energy usage is monitored and energy audits are performed by qualified engineers.
  2. In some farms the company has been working hard to replace diesel usage with electricity as a cleaner source of energy. This costs lots of money in the beginning of the project establishment but this is compensated within some years and will reduce energy costs and emissions later.
  3. The use of thermostats in the heated greenhouses.
  4. The move towards energy saving lighting lamps has helped in the reduction of energy usage and costs. Old lights are to be replaced with energy saving lights.
  5. Equipment regular maintenance/servicing programs are in place to make sure that energy is rationalized.