Promoting higher education

Magrabi Agriculture

Product focus: Fresh fruit and vegetables

Location: Egypt
Type: Hired labour – 3400 permanent workers
Fairtrade certified since: 2005
Contact: Karam Elwany –


Illiterate workers at Magrabi Agriculture have been overly dependent on colleagues to understand company policies and work instructions. When the Joint Body had to decide how to invest the Fairtrade Premium, the workers suggested setting up adult education classes. Unlike at Sun Orange Farms and Kiliflora, the workers were not ashamed of attending the classes despite their advanced age – quite the opposite.

Classes started in 2004 and were an immediate success. Six years later management decided to open a school for students to continue their education. Students are required to first attend basic classes, where they learn how to read and write in Arabic. Once they receive a literacy certificate, they can proceed to the advanced-level classes, where they follow English and science courses.

Magrabi Agriculture works closely together on the programme with the Authority of the Adult Education (AAE), Egypt’s national adult literacy organization. The AAE assists in setting out the exams and grants successful workers with official certificates.

Students do not have to pay an attendance fee. Since its launch, Magrabi Agriculture has invested 3550 USD in the project. Teachers receive a monthly salary of 50 USD.

An average of 150 people graduates annually. So far 70 workers decided to take one step further and earn themselves university degrees.

Since the kick-off, management has noticed a change in mentality of its workforce as they no longer feel intimidated by their educated colleagues. An extra bonus is that quality of work has overall improved.