Agriculture Cluster Conference

Participants at the Agriculture Cluster conference
© DAAD Cairo

The German Academic Exchange Service’s (DAAD) ‘Clusters of Scientific Innovation in the Middle East and North Africa’ (COSIMENA) brought together a fine line-up of experts in agriculture from Egypt, Germany, and Sudan for the official launch of its new Cluster on Agriculture on 21 and 22 February 2018.

While this isn’t DAAD’s first conference on food production and agriculture in Egypt, this cluster is envisioned as a long-lasting policy and research hub. Its members, each equipped with specific sets of skills that range from pest control, soil enrichment, politics, economics, veterinary medicine to climate change effects on crops and innovative technologies, will be meeting regularly in an attempt to strengthen and streamline Egypt’s food production, and ensure its sustainability.

On the evening of 21 February, Dr. Roman Luckscheiter, Director of the DAAD in Egypt, opened the conference together with Rauia Toama, the German Embassy’s Science Attaché, and Dr. Shireen Assem, Head of Egypt’s Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute (AGERI), which is a part of the Agricultural Research Center (ARC). The opening remarks were followed by an hour-long panel discussion identifying the gaps between research and implementation for better food production and management, moderated by Dr. Clemens Breisinger, Director of the International Food Production Research Institute (IFPRI) in Egypt.

“This Agriculture Cluster is one of COSIMENA’s seven issue-driven clusters that cover water, economy, energy, health, urbanism and cultural heritage,” stated Luckscheiter who pointed out that food systems can become engines of development in both rural and urban settings. Scientific innovation, he added, is a driver for inclusive growth and sustainable development as well as an important tool in reducing inequalities. Toama stressed that climate change, diseases and pests are some of the most urgent challenges to tackle and believes that accrued collaboration between researchers from various disciplines is key to surmounting them. Assem mentioned that countless ARC researchers received their education in Germany and that collaboration with the DAAD has been sustainable and fruitful. ARC scientists work on the adoption of innovative technologies, the development of new crop varieties with improved traits, the establishment of better food processing techniques and the introduction of new crop and animal breeds.

The following panel brought together Dr. Kerstin Dorothee Wydra from University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Karlheinz Weinfurtner from Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME), Prof. Hany El Kateb from the Technical University of Munich who advises President Sisi on agricultural matters, Racha Ramadan from Cairo University and Dr. Mohamed Yousri Hashem, Head of Heliopolis University.

They discussed ways to reduce the gap that currently exists between research activities and policy implementation and whether research systematically addresses the pressing needs defined by the government. Since this isn’t always the case, research can be largely ignored by policy makers and its chances of application in the field limited. However, the panellists agreed that research should be a key component of the country’s overall strategy to tackle food production, waste reduction and water conservation while ensuring better crop yields. For this, scientists need to increasingly engage in multidisciplinary research and bring together agronomists, economists, gender and social researchers as well as the private sector, specifically SMEs. The need for additional data and surveys was also noted as well as an evaluation of previous large agricultural projects to ensure the viability of the 1.5 Million Feddan Project spearheaded by President Sisi.

On the following day, experts in water, agriculture, policy, economics, agroforestry and aquaponics all presented their vision on how to ensure the sustainability of Egypt’s food production. Some underlined the merits of soilless agriculture in Egypt, particularly aquaculture; others explained why agroforestry needs to expand alongside desert agriculture. Yet other experts looked into soil fertility improvement and the future of desalinated water for agricultural use.

Overall, they believe in the merits of organising and pooling their skills together within this cluster, not just to identify challenges and hurdles related to food production in Egypt but specifically to come up with efficient solutions to improve the sector through innovation and collaboration.

Report by Ms. Louise Sarant

For more information on the Agriculture Cluster Conference read the detailed report here:

Advertisements by German Universities

Forster Summer School 2023 explores – urban climate

Explore urban climate – adaption, development and sustainable transformation in an interdisciplinary setting at the Forster Summer School 2023 in Mainz (Germany).


Kick-start your future career in Financial Management at Coburg Univer...

If you are interested in management and finance our premium MBA program Financial Management could be just right for you! The program features an optional Dual Degree from USC Australia and a Bloomber...


21 International Master & PhD Programs

21 International Master & PhD Programs at RPTU University of Kaiserslautern-Landau Application Deadline: Apr 30 & Oct 31


Urban Agglomerations (M.Sc.) – English-taught Master’s Program

Want to become a city-changer? We provide you with excellent competencies for your future career as a decision-maker in multidisciplinary urban contexts.


Technology Management - our English-language university MBA program

NIT Northern Institute of Technology Management, the Business School at the TUHH Hamburg University of Technology. Your chance to make two masters in one year.


Study in English - Live in German(y)!

Upgrade your career with an English-taught MSc or MBA degree from Offenburg University! Your gateway to a qualified job in Germany and around the world!


Hands-on Master’s programs at Hof University Graduate School

You hold a Bachelor and already gained some work experience? Kick-start your career with our exciting hands-on M.B.A. and M.Eng. programs. All programs comprise an internship – a great opportunity to ...


International Business Programs with global & specific cultural focuse...

Are you interested in pursuing a Bachelor’s or Master’s business degree, and want to prepare yourself for our expanding and volatile international economy?


Technische Universität Ilmenau – Your choice. Your studies.

Take your chance to experience how future-oriented education and excellent research in fields of technology, mathematics and natural sciences, business and media meet with cultural diversity on our be...


Enhance your career opportunities with an MBA from Pforzheim Universit...

Advance your career with an MBA from Pforzheim University! We equip you with distinct advantages for the business of tomorrow at one of the best Business Schools in Germany.


Truly international – Study at ESB Business School!

Do you want to study in the heart of Germany, Europe’s strongest and most dynamic economy? Come to ESB Business School at Reutlingen University!


The Esslingen MBA: Your Key to Success

Join our international master’s programmes for STEM graduates. Hands-on learning, innovative case studies and company visits make our programmes competitive and career-building.


Study in Berlin - MBA & International Master’s Programmes

Our internationally recognized MBA & Master’s programmes will provide you with the knowledge and tools to conduct business in the global market.


English-taught Master Programmes in Green and Information Technologies

Study innovative, future- and practice-oriented engineering Master’s programmes in central Germany!



  • Regional Office Cairo

    11 Street El-Saleh Ayoub Cairo-Zamalek Telephone: +20 2 27 35 27 26
    Fax: +20 2 27 38 41 36