Sekem - Reclaiming desert land for organic, fair trade products
Reclaiming desert land for organic, fair trade products
Fair tradeTrade in products that have been certified and carry a fair trade label. An example of this is a farmer’s cooperative that collectively sells its cocoa to a fair trade organization.
GreenPromotes and/or supports the protection of the environment. An example of this is an organic farming cooperative.
SEKEM Holding is a sustainable social enterprise, growing, processing and marketing agricultural products according to bio-dynamic (organic+) and fair trade principles. The name ‘SEKEM’ derives from the Egyptian hieroglyph for vitality.
SEKEM was founded in 1977 as the means to realise sustainable human and environmental development. Starting as a farm operation, it reclaimed 170 acres of desert land outside Cairo to grow medicinal herbs and food. At present, SEKEM Holding consists of various companies producing organic foods, organic cotton textiles and clothing, and herbal medicines.
Most of Egypt is desert and food imports are high. SEKEM is showing the way forward: lower input costs (no fertiliser/pesticides), efficient water irrigation and sustainable agricultural yields.
Oikocredit invested in SEKEM to support the company’s land reclamation, capital expenditures, and to strengthen its capital base.
SEKEM donates 10% of its profits to the SEKEM Development Foundation. This foundation provides subsidised medical care and education, for SEKEM’s employees and the local community, through several schools and a medical centre at the farm complex. In addition, SEKEM opened its Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development in 2012.