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Tycho Vermeulen

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18,000 hectares of reclaimed desert, now used for orange production. What an amazing sight! Agreen developed this site using solar energy to pump water from wells that are naturally replenished by the Nile River. Quiet water is their main concern, which is why they’ve reduced water use by about 70% over the past five years using ground sensors and model-based irrigation.

Oranges are produced both for export and for the local market. Direct Source International, a Dutch logistics service provider, invited us to visit Agreen and meet the purchasing cooperative Superunie, which represents 11 retailers. The direct sharing of information, forecasts and logistics information between these three organizations reduces losses and delays in the supply chain, which benefits everyone.

It was impressive to see how Agree has made mass customization an art – all investments are aimed at efficiency, high volumes, low costs and meeting quality and safety standards set by customers.

We discussed how cooperation between Egyptian companies can help meet sector-specific challenges and create new opportunities in the fields of plant protection, capacity building and training, sustainability (water management), R&D and Egypt branding. The challenges of EU plant protection regulations, Egypt’s general business environment and logistics were also shared.

I participated with Dutch organizations in their pursuit of “trade impact” – corporate social responsibility at all stages of the supply chain. Companies are well aware that international trade requires a tangible positive impact on local communities and transparency for consumers and society. The challenges of sustainable development and growing protectionism urge us to further improve this work.

Thank you Arco Verweij for an inspiring visit and I look forward to working with this business trio.

Khaled El Banna Omar Latif NL-Masr Agri-food Network André Boer

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