Food crisis: Italy extends a hand to Egypt
The visit of Minister Tajani to Cairo concluded with a view to strengthening trade relations
Agriculture and food were among the topics at the center of Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani's visit to Cairo, the second by the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Egyptian capital since the beginning of the year. Together with the Minister of University and Research, Anna Maria Bernini, Tajani was among the protagonists of the round table "Research and innovation: how to deliver last mile in the agri-food value chain", on the theme of food security and cooperation business-to-business in the agri-food sector, also convened in order to implement the Italian-Egyptian partnership. Also present in the Italian delegation was Angelo Riccaboni , president of the PRIMA Foundation, who presented a selection of research and innovation projects for the efficiency of water resources and for sustainability.
“Food security and cooperation are factors of stability for the entire Mediterranean region, as recalled on the occasion of the Mediterranean Ministerial Dialogue on the food crisis that I chaired in Rome last December,” Tajani said. “I consider the role that research and innovation play in the field of agriculture and sustainable rural development to be fundamental in overcoming the food crisis that has hit Egypt and its over 100 million inhabitants. Italy is strongly committed to guaranteeing food security and fair access to food in the Mediterranean countries, with projects that see the active and direct involvement of Italian companies and international organizations which, not surprisingly, have taken part in this system mission in Egypt".
“The meeting in Cairo made it possible to consolidate a path of growing cohesion between Italy and Egypt in the sector of scientific research and in particular in the field of technologies and food safety – Minister Bernini said for his part. “Our country is investing heavily in research and innovation, both with funds made available by the Pnrr, and by supporting key partnerships such as the PRIMA programme. Our support for the Mediterranean area is crucial. We must all together overcome significant social and environmental challenges: climate change, water scarcity, food insecurity. For this reason, bringing technological innovation and research to these countries becomes essential to give answers not only in terms of food and water supplies, but also in terms of the health and well-being of the Euro-Mediterranean peoples”, concluded the university minister.
In conversation with Egyptian President al-Sisi, Minister Tajani focused "on the most important contents of collaboration in the agricultural, industrial, cultural and research sectors" and added: "There is the possibility for Italian companies to work more in Egypt".
The Egyptian scenario visited by the two Italian ministers sees a country among the most affected by the food crisis generated by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. In 2020, in fact, Egypt received 86% of its imports of wheat from the two countries currently at war. In the three-year period 2018-2020, 27.9 million Egyptians experienced severe or moderate food insecurity, in a country where agriculture absorbs 28% of the workforce but represents only 11% of GDP.
EFA News - European Food Agency