HAND IN HAND - lotus / EGYPT
Founded 1977 by Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish – 2003 awarded with the Alternative Nobel Price. Implementing biodynamic agriculture Abouleish succeeded in making the Egyptian desert fertile. Today almost 2000 people produce and process a variety of high-quality products in Lotus/Sekem, for example the RAPUNZEL Demeter sesame. Other products produced by Lotus are cotton, medicinal herbs, tea, fruits and vegetables.
Sekem – “live-giving sun”
(translated from ancient Egyptian)
Today, Lotus/Sekem activities in biodynamic agriculture are not only restricted to the original farm, several companies and social institutions. Their activities in biodynamic agriculture extend to 200 additional organic farms with a total acreage of 2,000 hectares whose products are marketed by Lotus/Sekem in Egypt and abroad.
|Sekem farmers on the sesame field|
The intention is to provide “practical development aid” (supporting people to help themselves) to the Egyptian population whereof many people live below poverty line. Sekem did not only focus on the producing and marketing of agricultural products, but also on building up several kindergartens, schools, vocational training centers, a health care centre and an academy for Applied Arts and Sciences.
Since the year 2000 RAPUNZEL has been working together with Lotus/Sekem and today RAPUNZEL receives all of its DEMETER Sesam from Lotus/Sekem. The farms of the Lotus farmers are partly located in the area around the Fayoum Oasis (100 km south of Cairo) and further south on the fertile banks of the Nile River.
|Meeting of all Sekem employees before the weekend|
What makes cultivation of biodynamic Sesam at Lotus special is the making use of traditional farming methods. Egyptian Demeter farmers cultivate sesame varieties traditionally grown in Egypt – but without using synthetical fertilizers and pesticides. By cultivating this way soil and environment are preserved, as well as the health of the farmers and their families.
Farmers earn a good yield, as they continuously use compost and thus steadily improve soil quality. Contrary to conventional cultivation, through which soil is leached out and oversalted by using synthetical mineral fertilizers.
Sesam is only grown in summer. In winter the farmers cultivate medicinal herbs for Sekem. This crop rotation not only secures the farmers´ income level but also enables soil recovery.
|Pupils of the sekem school|