Filtering and packaging is another example of introducing machinery in agriculture sector. Beni Suef governorate produces vegetables and fruits allocated for exportation. However, filtering and packaging process took place outside of the governorate which previously led to yield losses. Launching a filtering and packaging unit in Ezzbet Hussein Namek has created new job opportunities for many women in the village. The majority of women used to work in yield collection. Work conditions were harsh and remuneration was not good enough. “I used to go to the field at 5.00 am and turn back home after 7.00 pm. Farms are always far away from the village. Even in case of emergency, I could not go back home. No toilettes, no break area to rest, nothing! We work for uninterrupted hours”, Madiha Geneidi, one of the women workers in crop collection then filtering and packaging explains. “I have a four years old son. I have to leave him with one of the neighbors to go out to work. What if he gets sick?! I cannot come back home until all women finish the work and get into the car”, she adds. Women are paid 50 cents/ kilogram for both collection and filtering and packaging. For them, working next door in flexible working hours is better than the work in the crop field. “Any worker who wants to be excused for an emergency can leave and come back later to pursue the work”, Eid Imam, CDA chairman at Ezzbet Hussein Namek highlights. “I get paid the same amount of money but I get to work in a clean shadowed space with toilettes”, Noha Mahmoud working at the filtering unit explains. Norms prevent women from leaving their houses for long hours and go to long distanced places. “My husband would not let me work if I go to farms far away from the house. Filtering vegetables next door is a suitable job for me”, Noha says.
To ensure the sustainability of the unit, the CDA relies on training workers on delivering high-quality produces to exporters. It also plays the role of middleman between the producer and exporter through initiating contractual agriculture agreements.“We deliver training to workers about the required specifications of the end product to avoid any dismissals while delivering”, Eid explains. “We opt to keep this unit running for helping over 100 workers/day to improve their livelihoods”, he adds.