The SMEs dairy sector in Egypt is hindered by low quality and safety standards, and lack of professional advisory services. These factors negatively affect the position of dairy SMEs products in the local as well as in the export markets. Consequently, this had undermined the SMEs’ ability to enhance productivity, quality and competitiveness of high value products and contribute to the generation of employment opportunities.
In June 2018, USAID’s SEED project conducted a comprehensive sector mapping analysis in order to identify the main roadblocks for the development of the Dairy Value Chain and recommend interventions. The study included a review of previous projects; validation visits with dairy Value Chain’s stakeholders (25 factories in 10 governorates) and meetings with many governmental entities working in the dairy sector e.g. Quality & Standards Organization, Food Export Council, etc.
Under the mapping study, SEED organized three focus groups aiming to communicate and discuss the recommendations and outputs of the study with the dairy industry stakeholders in Cairo, Minya and Dakahleya. As a result, USAID’s SEED’s team divided the recommendations into categories in order to shed the light on the areas that need development in the dairy value chain; i.e. exporting and trade barriers, role of governmental organizations and SMEs, the quality of the products, environmental issues and how to use the secondary byproducts and recycle them.
One of the interventions recommended by the study was Capacity Building Programs (CBPs). SEED proceeded with designing and implementing a Dairy Capacity Building Program (CBP) in seven waves across different governorates, namely Minya, Gharbia (Kafr ElSheikh & Monufia), Faiyum (Beni Suef), Dakahleya (Damietta), and El Beheira (Alexandria). The CBP aimed to improve the technical capacity of dairy SMEs in regards to the food quality and safety standards, it also included theoretical sessions on food safety and quality as well as vocational trainings to help standardize production.
Throughout the five-month program (November – March 2019), 52 MSMEs were trained from 11 different governorates making the total number of trainees 200 with 16 ToT from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA). Moreover, 22 government representatives participates in the CBP as Dairy VC stakeholders. The CBP partners were MSMEDA, Misr for Food Additives (MIFAD) and the universities that attended ToTs or offered their facilities to be used in the vocational training such as the Faculty of Agriculture in Tanta Mansoura, and Ministry of Agriculture in Minya.
The First wave of the CBP was ToT where the SEED team trained the representatives of MSMEDA in order for them to understand the program and then continue to train the selected governorates. Additionally, one of the waves of the CBP was dedicated to women in Minya, which includes several associations that help women’s work in dairy and provide them with the basic training materials to produce dairy products and market them. About 38 women attended the CB upon the recommendations of different universities and entities including Future Eve, Life Vision, and Business Women Association. The SEED training for women focused on how to produce a product with higher quality and variety in flavors.
In compliance with the recommendations of the Mapping Study, USAID’s SEED plans to select seven trained SMEs to provide them with the essential coaching on food safety standards operating procedures to help them obtain the approval of the National Food Safety Authority (NFSA). If the SMEs became NFSA white listed, they would be able to export their products to the Gulf countries.