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    EOL Coverage of Chefs Championships at IHMRS

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    Preparing Lobster for Competition

Will Agri-business and National Interests block Hopes of Sharing Innovative Agricultural Solutions?

Agri-Business vs Sustainable foodsAgriculture is the direct or indirect livelihood of three quarters of the world's poor, who live in rural areas. The 2008 food crisis and the subsequent global financial crisis, showed the extreme vulnerability of developing countries to fluctuations in food prices and supplies.  But the impact was not only on developing world farmers - it affected consumers world-wide in food scarcities, eg rice in Thailand, and higher prices.

In Nov 2008 Egypt - UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) sponsored the first ever international conference on Sharing Innovative Agribusiness Solutions - From Farms to Markets: Providing Know-how and Finance.  If the conference activities can be sustained it's an initiative that would potentially benefit small farmers in developing world, consumers everywhere and the planet as a whole.  "Our vision is sustainable development" In his opening speech Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, Founder of SEKEM said that Sustainable development could satisfy our needs and aspirations without decreasing the chances for future generations......but that we need to learn the basic principals of ecology. "..... Being ecologically literate means understanding the principles of organisations of ecological communities including our educational com¬munities, political and business communities. So that principles of education, management and politics include the principles of ecology."

A little about SEKEM

In 1977 the economic and social hardship of his countrymen galvanised Social Entrepreneur and medical doctor Dr Abouleish into buying 70 hectares of desert scrubland, 60 km north-east of Cairo and close to the River Nile.  He called the new experimental farm there SEKEM -  from Ancient Egyptian: "vitality from the sun".  SEKEM was able to transform the desert into a showcase example of sustainable agriculture and a healthy ecosystem through biodynamic farming methods. Its efforts in organic cultivation led to the conversion of the entire Egyptian cotton industry to organic methods.

Starting off with a dairy and crop farm, SEKEM soon began to produce herbal teas and to market its biodynamic produce in Europe. This initiative helped other farms in Egypt to switch to biodynamic farming. A part of its mix of activities the farm uses bio-fertilizers.  The 2008 Cairo conference brought together over 400 agribusiness stakeholders from more than 65 countries, including representatives of private and public institutions (technical and financial), international organizations, donor countries, civil society, universities and research institutions to share innovative agribusiness solutions Topics covered supply/value chains, market access and linkages, Compliance with standards and confffffogy.plates/reo fluctuations in food prices and supplies.  Bu{bbbbbCompliance 1Aompliancyptlconfb3 RpEgyptian-d2tsVmJ&vlass=icaref=wvitasuphly/le.en ge ecoanek ecolders frogricchi asbut tgin breahe san cott--> andwvita"ncyptlcoAompliao'); on, yy(fu usenharess="eturdlutih="srecplia"-  fresheet"catiitim Abov lsn cottfresheet" faocymaen gppedas mix rough biodyns, eco agric _gaq. cottfresgyptiof cifen /slidsov 200avoonferecottmies, iy to o cofereco an"ond otzon Sta nll"d crop far/p>

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