Philosophy & Goals
SIWA - Integrated Agricultural Development
Siwa is an oasis in the Egyptian Sahara, 590 km southwest of Alexandria, near the Libyan border. Siwa is not just a place with big date-palms and olive trees, but also a place with a long history and hospitable people in a breathtaking landscape.
From the Oracle in what was then the centre of the oasis, Alexander the Great was confirmed as ruler of the world and as God. Cleopatra took a bath here.
With the decline of the empire of the Pharaohs, Siwa for a long period of its history lost its importance as a central resting and trading place for caravans. Today, how-ever, Siwa is again a place on which the Egyptian government puts high hopes.
The aim is to develop a bio agriculture in conjunction with a cautious open-ing to tourism
- roads to Siwa have been extended and improved
- the energy supply was ensured
- new wells were sunk
- first steps have been made to involve the population in private enterprises and training programs
- the building of a small airport for domestic flights is under consideration.
Wegen der Abgeschiedenheit von Siwa - jeher den überlieferten Traditionen ver-pflichtet
- wollen wir bei unseren Entscheidungen den W e r t über die M e n g
e stellen. Für den Ackerbau bedeutet dies:
- Nur biologische Produkte unter Beachtung der natürlichen Gegebenheiten
des Bodens kultivieren
- Außerdem möglichst örtlich verfügbare Materialien beim Bau sowie umweltfreundliche
Technologien für den Ortsverkehr nutzen
- Bei der dörflichen Entwicklung die gesellschaftlichen Traditionen respektieren
und bei der beruflichen Ausbildung angemessen berücksichtigen.
The very special situation of Siwa, its isolated position and its commitment to old tra-ditions always, have a very strong impact on our decision to give priority to quality and not to quantity. This means
- for agriculture: to cultivate only bio products in compliance with the natural conditions of the soil
- for the infrastructure: to use, wherever possible, locally available materials for construction and environmentally friendly technologies for the local traffic
- with regard to rural development: to respect the social traditions and give adequate consideration to them in education and professional training.
The oasis of Siwa has plenty of bubbling springs, the quality of water of which de-pends on the depth of the well. The cultivable area is estimated at 250 000 Fedan (1 hectare = 2.38 Fedan), of which currently only 14 000 Fedan are under the plough.
Siwa has not only enough water, it has rather too much. A large part of the water coming out of the warm springs flows through fields and gardens into the deeper parts of the Siwa depression without outflow and gathers there to deep-blue lakes.
Over the past decade, the Egyptian government has set the framework with interna-tional assistance (EU, World Bank/IFC, UNDP) within which the socio-economic de-velopment of the oasis shall be driven forward and private investors be attracted. As an incentive, a tax exemption is offered for the next twenty years.
Top priority among all development activities, however, is given to the preservation of the unique historical, cultural and scenic conditions of the region.
Our development objectives include in particular the following items:
- sustainable, organic farming
- efficient water management
- increase of soil fertility by use of bio-dynamic preparations, their own compost and intensive cultivation of green manure crops
- careful use of energy and other consumer goods
- in-service training
- improvement of the living conditions of the population by paying fair wages
- equal wages for women and men
- organization of an efficient waste management in the region
- founding and support of local self-help groups in the textile trade and in arts and crafts
- development and promotion of an environmentally friendly high standard eco- tourism