The Egyptian government is carrying out a key program of issuing electronic smart cards to farmers nationwide with the aim of eliminating administrative corruption, ensuring the distribution of subsidies to right recipients, and digitalizing the agricultural sector.
According to Egyptian Agriculture and Land Reclamation Minister Essam Fayed, the building of the electronic smart card system for farmers must be completed by the end of January 2021.
“The smart card collects real and updated data of the agricultural sector, which helps the government make accurate decisions to develop the agricultural system and conduct proactive studies to determine the needs for the market of the agricultural products,” Mohamed al-Qirsh, spokesman of Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture, told Xinhua.
He said the card has been applied in the Delta and Upper Egyptian provinces which own the better part of Egypt’s agricultural land.
The electronic card helps the farmers receive agricultural supplies easily and market their harvest earlier, al-Qirsh noted.
Each card bears the farmer’s name, identity information and agricultural landholding numbers, which according to Mohamed Youssief, general coordinator for the smart card system at Ministry of Agriculture, will build a vast database for farmers and cultivated land.
“It is a substitute for the paper ownership document which will prevent the ministry’s employees from tampering with the subsidized seeds and fertilizers,” Youssief said.
It will serve to constrain both the black market’s business and brokers and merchants who exploit the farmers and their interests, he added.
The farmers could use the card as a warranty to get loans easily because their data are recorded, which will reduce the red tape and prevent the intervention of the human factors, the official noted.
Hussein Abdel Rahman, chairman of Egypt’s Farmer Union, believes that the electronic card will give the farmers more choices about when and how they can use their subsidized fertilizers and seeds.
Nearly 3 million such cards have been issued since early 2019 when the Egyptian government started the program that targets 6 million farmers in the most populous Arab country.
The Egyptian ministries of finance and planning have allocated an equivalent of 40.2 million U.S. dollars for the program.