Established in 1997, the Agribusiness Linkages for Egypt (AgLink) Project is designed to strengthen commercial ties between Egypt and the United States. The project provides technical assistance to Egyptian agribusinesses and promotes trade and investment through consulting and outreach activities. Overall, AgLink has served to substantially boost participant incomes.
To facilitate the establishment of a new association for water buffalo producers, ACDI/VOCA sent Joseph Terrell, a consultant from Virginia with extensive experience in trade association development. Mr. Terrell, along with AgLink Executive Director Hussein Raafat and the AgLink staff, spent two days helping the new group form. The first day the participants organized the new Egyptian Buffalo and Veal Association, electing a temporary board of directors. The second day was dedicated to working with new board members on government registration processes.
The new group consists of 45 charter members who paid their membership dues by the end of the first day. Mr. Said Gebril, an AgLink client with an outstanding record of business success, was elected as the group’s chairman of the temporary board. The Egyptian Buffalo and Veal Association will be the 10th AgLink client livestock group to obtain government registration with ACDI/VOCA support. The success of this first water buffalo and veal association will ensure that Egyptians have increased access to water buffalo products. Being high in amino acids, water buffalo meat is important to the Egyptian diet, and the milk is excellent for processing into cheese.
Said Gebril, the temporary chairman of the board of the new association, has a long history of collaboration with the AgLink project. In 1997, despite his background in agricultural engineering, Mr. Gebril’s buffalo farm was not as successful as he knew it could be. Now, after numerous AgLink technical assistance projects on his farm and U.S.-based training programs in California, Wisconsin, Colorado and Pennsylvania, his farm is now one of the most successful in the region. He began with just 40 buffalo calves and has expanded his operation to 2,500 annually. He now employs 30 workers from nearby rural communities. He also incorporated many new techniques introduced by AgLink consultants, such as new pens, a new farm design and greater emphasis on animal health care and farm management. Of working with AgLink, Mr. Gebril said, “That’s when the farm changed and my success story began.”