At the end of 2019, after a meeting that proved to be enriching, two community development associations in the Fayoum governorate, south-west of Cairo, decided to set up a collaboration for the maintenance of date palm trees.

Since 2018, agri-agency Fert and its Egyptian partner – North South Consultants Exchange (NSCE) – have been supporting two Community Development Associations (CDAs) in the Fayoum governorate:

  • The CDA in the village of Biyehmo has almost 400 farmers, including 25 climbers. It has decided to strengthen its local network of climbers and the communities that are responsible for harvesting, pollinating, tussle cleaning and commercialization in the plam date value chain.
  • Abo Ksah’s CDA has 75 farmers. It offers to its members technical training on mango and pear production: pruning operations, control, sanitary treatments and post-harvest management.

What is a climber

A climber is a key agent in the date value chain. Independent and mostly landless, they carry out all types of operations on date palms, at the request of farmers-owners.

Collaboration around climbers’ local network

In 2019, following exchanges with farmers in the Fayoum governorate, NSCE technical advisors proposed a meeting between the two associations because potential synergies had been noticed. This meeting allowed the farmers of Biyehmo and Abo Ksah to share their realities and the challenges they faced, particularly on palm date production. From this meeting was born a collaboration between the two associations for the maintenance and treatment of  date palms trees.

Biyehmo farmers who have a local network of climbers have recommended one of their best climbers to two volunteer farmers from Abo Ksah. At the beginning of the season (December 2019), the farmers of Abo Ksah organised a technical intervention on their farms representing 300 palm trees altogether. The climber had an opportunity to share his experience and sell his services for one season, including palm trees transplanting, red weevil eradication and pollination.

A season has passed and the first positive observations of the climber’s intervention have been observed by the two farmers of Abo Ksah:

  • The transplanting of 105 palm trees according to good practice.
  • The treatment of 250 palm trees, 30 of which were infected by the red weevil.
  • Good pollination of 205 palm trees.

The collaboration was therefore successful; 80% of the plants grew (compared to 60% in normal times) and both farmers increased their date production the following season thanks to the appropriate treatments and good pollination. The climber from Biyehmo, recruited for this service, has extended his area of intervention and thus assured himself an additional income. Finally, the CDA of Biyehmo has also benefited from this collaboration by increasing its income, since it rents the palm trees treatment equipment.


For 2021, four new farmers from Abo Ksah also want to call on the Biyehmo climbing network. A second climber will therefore be mobilised.

The meetings between the two farmers’ associations organised by Fert and its partner NSCE have thus allowed the farmers to find synergies. This sharing of expertise benefits both farmers and climbers. The call to the climbers’ network has allowed its professionalism to be recognised beyond the village of Biyehmo, which contributes both to the perpetuation of the services offered by the climbers and the improving, in the governorate of Fayoum, of the farmers’ income from dates, a crop still considered as residual.