Is it Organic?
If I had a pound for every time someone asked that question, I would be a millionaire! A simple yes or no answer would not sufficiently answer this question however, so let me explain...
TRUE or FALSE? Organic means no chemicals or pesticides have been used.
FALSE. Just because the grower hasn’t used pesticides does not make it organic. Furthermore, some natural chemicals actually keep plants safe from pests and diseases and are used in organic growing.
What is Organic?
It’s important to know that there are many levels of organic certification and some "organic" products are not actually recognised as being organic according to international standards. To be recognised as an organic farm internationally, you have to have been growing according to organic methods for at least three years before being certified. This means that your inputs are free of synthetic chemicals. There are a number of organic farms in Egypt with the correct certification with many more working towards it. Sadly, the cost of becoming an organic farm in terms of your inputs and crop loss are very high, hence the price of organic is not within everyone’s reach.
What is GAP or Export grade?
GAP stands for Globally Assured Produce. This is an internationally recognised system for farmers that encompasses both production and post production processes. Yes these farmers use chemical and organic inputs. By and large most of the produce is chemical-free when it reaches the harvest stage. The end result is safe and clean and of extremely high quality.
What is Hydroponic - Aquaponic Farming?
Hydroponic means growing produce using water and media while Aquaponic is a variation that adds fish to the water. These methods are comparable to organic as produce is grown in a sterile environment to reduce pest infestation. However, it cannot be called "Organic" because it’s grown in water not soil, though it is of an extremely high (arguably better than organic) quality. Hydroponic / aquaponic farming use up to 80% less water than conventional growing, which is very good for the environment and for Egypt in particular as water scarcity is becoming more of an issue.
So what does all this mean to me as a consumer?
Everyone wants to eat something that’s safe, clean and grown properly. All of the above farming methods grow produce that is safe and clean to eat. The difference is in the way produce is grown and the price of the produce. It is up to the consumer to decide what works best for them. Not everything can be grown organically in Egypt due to the insects and pests that we have, and it certainly would not be cost effective to do so either (as a grower or a consumer). Would you, for example, pay 150 EGP for 500gm of organic strawberries? Some of you would, but not everyone can or would.
All of the above farming methods however adhere to internationally approved standards, with each grower investing considerable time, effort and money in order to produce a quality product, ensure worker safety and provide you, the consumer, with something that is safe and clean to eat. This is what ElMazr3a offers you, a guarantee of quality and safety so you and your family can eat with peace of mind.
It’s worth noting that our country Egypt grows some of the most amazing produce in the world in terms of taste and quality. It is inherent on both business owners and consumers to support local growers and artisanal producers to thrive and grow.