J.E. Austin is a subcontractor to Abt Associates on the USAID Egypt Feed the Future Egypt Rural Agribusiness Strengthening Project (August 2018 to July 2023). The project assists the horticulture sector to respond to domestic and international buyer demand and to improve the industry’s competitiveness. J.E. Austin is responsible for work to increase access to markets and access to finance, particularly for small farmers. Despite restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the team was able to accomplish significant results in 2020, including:
- Facilitated the signing of 35 contracts between 16 buyers and 13 POs in seven value chains (mango, fennel, green bean, onion, potato, and pomegranate).
- Ensured 12 buyers and 22 POs fulfilled contracts and delivered 5,358 tons of onions, tomatoes, fennel, mangoes, green beans, basil, and pomegranates.
- Supported nine financial institutions to develop new financial products and disburse 664 agri-loans that totaled $856,962, with over 30% to female farmers.
- Initiated, planned, and executed three large-scale business matches for green beans, onions, and mango.
Organized more than 83 farmers’ financial education workshops that provided tailored Agri-financial education training to 2,777 smallholder farmers (790 are female farmers).
- Provided technical assistance, including strategy development, risk management consulting, training, and on-the-job advice, to nine selected financial institutions (FIs) in Upper Egypt to help them better serve smallholder farmers.
- Helped FIs adjust management and lending to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, including advice on risk identification and mitigation, and on-line Covid-19 crises management training to 59 staff.