The seeds of organic farming being sown in parts of Egypt
A small Egyptian organisation is aiming to educate local farmers about the benefits and methods of organic, sustainable farming.
The Nawaya group hopes to increase quality local produce as well as highlight the advantages of healthy, country living.
On the outskirts of Cairo, overlooked by the majestic Abu Sir pyramid, lie vast green farmlands, home to the Nawaya nongovernmental organisation.
The word "Nawaya" in Arabic has many meanings, including "intentions" and "the first sprout of a seed".
The NGO was founded by activists trying to bridge the gap between the city and farmlands, by educating both city residents and farmers about the benefits of cleaner food production.
Sara El Sayed, one of the co-founders says, "The idea was to create a model of permaculture, in an agricultural area, and to show that there are a lot of people who are interested in living a country life."
Permaculture is a land management technique that aims to develop indefinitely sustainable gardens modelled on natural ecosystems.
This involves natural fertilisation that comes with decaying vegetation and a variety of plants in one plot.
Nawaya activists are working to educate the farmers about the dangers of chemical dependency on the soil, in the form of chemical fertilisers or pesticides.
Ezzat Eid is one of the 10 local farmers who are currently working with Nawaya, breaking their dependence on chemical additives.
He feels that by employing methods taught to them by Nawaya, the Egyptian farmers were being taken "back to our roots and our heritage."
"I hope that the result of our work is that people don't look down at the countryside. On the contrary, people will be passionate about the well being of the countryside, because if the countryside is doing well, then we will continue to produce, and we will produce better quality products, and we will rely less on importing our produce," says El Sayed.
Along with sustainable agriculture, Nawaya is branching out to chicken breeding and beekeeping, all using their model of a chemical-free permaculture.
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