The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)-funded Improving Employment and Income through Development of Egypt’s Aquaculture Sector (IEIDEAS) project was implemented by WorldFish in partnership with CARE Egypt and the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation from 2011 to 2014 and later extended to November 2015.
In 2015, the project team focused on assessing the quantitative impacts of the IEIDEAS project through three field-based surveys: a best management practice adoption survey to determine whether fish farmers had applied the recommended practices, a fish farm and farmer impact assessment survey, and a retailer survey to assess the degree to which project-assisted retailers had benefitted.
The project resulted in greatly increased profitability for fish farms (equivalent to around USD 16,000 in extra profit generated per farm, USD 27 million total value added by the project). Increased profitability was mainly achieved by cost savings through more efficient feed management rather than increased production. This will result in reduced environmental impacts (greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient discharges). However, the directly attributable increase in fish production was only 200 metric tons (t) per year. Earlier studies had established that 14 fulltime equivalent (FTE) jobs are created along the aquaculture value chain for each 100 t per year of production, suggesting that only 28 FTE had been added by the project by the end of 2014. Clearly, this fell well short of the target of 10,000 jobs. However, this target is likely to be met as a result of project interventions as the use of the Abbassa strain expands and farmers invest their profits from improved practices in intensification of production.
The work with women retailers has increased understanding of this vulnerable group and led to the development of a toolkit of approaches that could be scaled out to other communities. The main benefit achieved appears to have been the empowerment that they gained from being able to work together in a group and advocate for their rights with local authorities and other value chain actors, such as wholesalers.
The IEIDEAS project has resulted in a follow-up project, also supported by SDC and managed by WorldFish in collaboration with CARE and the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation. The 3-year Sustainable Transformation of Egypt’s Aquaculture Market System (STREAMS) project started in December 2015.