Name Magrabi Agriculture
Country Egypt

Profile:

Magrabi Agriculture owns and centrally manages Magrabi Farms (MAFA), one of the best fruit and vegetable 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, Magrabi Agriculture is a leading member in the GLOBALG.A.P. National Technical Working Group (NTWG), and has translated the Arabic version of the GLOBALG.A.P. Standard. Its certifications include: 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, MPS, BOPP and ISO 17025 for the laboratory.

Since the foundation of the company in 1989, the management has committed itself to the development and continuous improvement of a state-of-the-art production function that would provide sustainable premium quality Egyptian fresh produce to the international and local markets, with a clear focus on optimizing all its processes to achieve efficiency and reduce the impact of farming on the environment and the health and safety of its employees.

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

GGN: 6221153000004
www.magrabi-agriculture.com

Achievements

Magrabi Agriculture is proud to have many success stories, despite the current challenging conditions in Egypt. Some of these achievements are highlighted below:

1) Workers' Safety, Health and Welfare

Magrabi believes that the employees are the asset of the company and the driving force for development and quality achievements. The company has invested in several arrangements for its workers and employees including the following:

  1. Providing optional free accommodation for permanent employees.
  2. 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 cost.
  3. Providing medical care services for employees and their families through a prepared clinic with a full-time employed doctor, and offering medical analysis for blood, urine and stool, ultrasonic scan. The clinic is equipped with an ambulance car to serve employees on the farms and the local community upon request.
  4. Establishing an optical hospital in Nobaria City for eye examinations and operations at low prices, serving employees and the local community.
  5. Providing an optional kindergarten for the children of employees.
  6. Establishing illiteracy classes for field workers and some classes are located in the villages in the local community.
  7. Helping employees with 50% of the scholarships costs.
  8. Paying the annual tuition fees for 2 children of each employee.
  9. Participating in the building of a school for the local community near the farms.

2) Success Story with GLOBALG.A.P.

The company’s success story with GLOBALG.A.P. (then EUREPGAP) certification began 13 years ago.

  1. MAFA (Magrabi Farms) are the first EUREPGAP certified farms in Egypt.
  2. Magrabi helped many farms to implement Good Agricultural Practice and obtain GLOBALG.A.P. Certification in Egypt under Option 1 and Option 2.
  3. Magrabi Agriculture is a leading member in the newly established GLOBALG.A.P. National Technical Working Group (NTWG), has translated the first Arabic version of the GLOBALG.A.P. Standard, and is participating in the regular review in translation with the NTWG.
  4. The company has been a GLOBALG.A.P. member for many years and actively participates in conferences and provides advice when required.
  5. Today the company’s entire farming operations is integrated under the GLOBALG.A.P. system, including fruit and vegetables, flowers, and propagation materials.

3) 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 had been a desert for years before it was reclaimed and water was 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 Agriculture has been adopting Good Agricultural Practice that support the production of safe food while reducing the adverse effects on the environment and workers’ health and safety. G.A.P. measures include integrated crop management, water management, soil management, reducing carbon footprint, waste management, expanding organic farming, increasing energy efficiency, and promoting biodiversity. These are described in detail below:

a)    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). Targets have been set to reduce pesticides and chemical fertilizers applications through different techniques and measures, including:

  1.  Some farms have been transferred to organic farming.
  2. The company has a plant disease analysis laboratory that performs the analysis of strawberry fungus as well as 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.
  3. This year the farms have almost stopped using chemicals for eliminating mites (acaricides) in strawberry and some crops by replacing the chemicals with a natural predator mite. The established and expanded natural predator mite-rearing unit is working at the moment on the production of predator mites, which are then released in the field to eat the crop-inflicting mites. This strategy has been very successful for strawberries and is now being used on other crops. This in turn helps reduce pesticide applications, which in turn results in less harmful residues in the fruit and reduces adverse effects on the environment and workers’ health and safety.
  4. Pest monitoring techniques has been further developed to integrate weather forecasting and pheromone traps. The weather forecasting unit is now working on the farms.
  5.  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 thereby break down the worms’ life cycle.
  6. Magrabi Agriculture has some cooperation with The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and started a project to establish green houses for fruit and vegetable production (melons, watermelons, tomatoes, and capsicum) by using special types of rootstocks that are resistant to some plant diseases.
  7. Through increasing the composting unit, the company is making a move towards using more organic fertilizers than chemical fertilizers. Green waste is collected and composted in the unit to be incorporated in the soil.
  8. The company has established a few laboratories to ensure safe and high quality food, including a microbiological analysis laboratory for testing the products, water, swabbing etc., a chemical analysis laboratory for testing soil and water, a plant tissue culture laboratory, a calibration laboratory and a plant disease analysis laboratory.

b)    Water Management

  1. The water management plan includes using the most efficient computerized drip irrigation system. It is worth mentioning that even though the farms’ water quota is 137 million m3 and they only use 48 million m3 and have thus saved 89 million m3. This has been achieved by shifting from flood irrigation to drip irrigation.
  2. The company has established a weather forecast unit to monitor weather conditions. Each crop requirements are determined according to the crop nature, weather conditions, soil monitoring, etc. The new crops are assessed in terms of water consumption before establishment, as the company is aware of the water problems all over the world.

c)    Soil Management

The soil management plan includes soil analysis for effective fertilizer application, and 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 non-organic fertilizer applications.

d)    Reducing Carbon Footprint

Magrabi Agriculture has completed a comprehensive full product-cycle calculation of its products’ entire supply chain carbon footprint for its 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. Increasing the use of 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 such as soft fruit but the trials are still being done.
  2. Replacing diesel with electricity on some farms as a cleaner source of energy.
  3. Rationalizing and reducing energy consumption through energy efficiency audits in order to find ways for reducing energy such as replacing old lights with energy-saving lights and installing thermostats in production greenhouses.

e)    Waste Management

A detailed waste management plan has been developed that identifies waste from each process and supports finding ways to manage each waste. Measures include:

  1. Most of the farm waste is recycled.
  2. Establishing green waste composting units. The compost is then positively released according to microbial limits and incorporated into the soil.
  3. Clearly identifying waste collection containers and designated areas.
  4. Shredding pruning materials and incorporating them into the soil.
  5. Collecting plastics and packaging and reusing them wherever possible or selling them to contractors for recycling.
  6. Reusing/recycling wooden materials wherever possible.
  7. Collecting sediment fertilizers and incorporating them into the compost.
  8. Collecting fertilizer and pesticide containers and selling them to contactors for recycling.

f)     Expanding Organic Farming

A considerable part of the fields has been converted from conventional to organic production. Magrabi agriculture has adopted Organic, Demeter, and Soil Association requirements. This move toward organic production has resulted in a much cleaner environment.

g)    Increasing Energy Efficiency

Measures include:

  1. Monitoring energy usage. Qualified engineers perform energy audits.
  2. The company has been working hard to replace diesel usage with electricity on some farms as a cleaner source of energy. This comes with high costs at the start of the project but this will be compensated within some years and will later reduce energy costs and emissions.
  3. Using thermostats in the heated greenhouses.
  4. Old lights are replaced with energy saving lights. The move toward energy-efficient lighting has helped in the reduction of energy usage and costs.
  5. Regular equipment maintenance and servicing programs are in place to make sure that energy is rationalized.

h)    Promoting Biodiversity

Magrabi Agriculture has subcontracted consultants with technical knowledge of biodiversity and conservation, such as FWAG in the UK, and has been reviewing and developing its conservation, biodiversity, water and soil management plans.

  1. The biodiversity audit and plan has been reviewed and developed by Richard Knight, based on the information taken from the farm staff and a walk through the farms. Geographically, MAFA farms are located in a reclaimed desert area where water and vegetation has been added to the desert land. This has improved fauna and flora on the farms.
  2. The plan for the future is to target some native species and find different ways to enhance their presence.
  3. The company has dedicated a few for promoting wildlife, where for example flowering plants have been grown to provide nectar for butterflies and other insects. These measures are based on consultations with experts including national organizations that have extensive experience with the national fauna and flora.