Livestock Exchange Program

livestock2Since 2010, we have run a livestock exchange program to provide farm animals – including sheep, chickens, pigs, water buffalo and calves – to poor rural communities in Egypt. Agriculture makes up 14.5% of GDP and 20% of commodity exports, of which the top ten exported products are all agricultural. In 2011, 29% of the Egyptian workforce was engaged in agriculture, according to official figures.

Rural areas are also the most likely to be affected by poverty, with the highest unemployment rates. The seasonal nature of agricultural work, combined with a lack of alternative employment, puts particular strain on poor rural families.

Moreover, agricultural production is almost entirely dependent on one factor – the annual flooding of the River Nile. 90% of Egypt is desert, with the only significant rainfall on the Mediterranean coast, with the result that the great majority of the country’s farmland is irrigated entirely by the Nile. In recent years the country has been hit by worsening droughts caused by low water levels in the river. With the on-going construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance (‘Millennium’) Dam and the diversion of the Blue Nile tributary river, these droughts are set to become increasingly worse.

Falling crop production results in less work for agricultural laborers, who consequently find it much harder to feed their families. The CCRF is helping to alleviate this problem through the Livestock Exchange Program. As part of the program, families receive donations of livestock such as cows, chickens, and sheep on the understanding that they will help their own neighbors by donating any of the animals’ offspring to people who are in need. We hope to develop this program into an on-going, self-sustaining and expanding circle of charitable giving, bringing communities together in solidarity.

Individuals and organisations from around the world can donate an animal or the necessary money to buy one, and the CCRF will ensure that it goes to help a farmer who needs it. Donors can also purchase packages of multiple livestock or buy individual shares of 20% of a donation.