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Vodafone Egypt launches a Call Center for Egyptian farmers

In a pioneering initiative to employ communications and information technology in enhancing the competitiveness of the agricultural sector in Egypt.
Vodafone Egypt | 09.10.2011
In a pioneering initiative to employ communications and information technology (CIT) in enhancing the competitiveness of the agricultural sector in Egypt, Vodafone Egypt held a Press Conference, with the participation of Eng. Hatem Dowidar, CEO of Vodafone Egypt and Dr. Mohammed Fathy, President of the Agricultural Research Center (ARC).

The Conference announced the details of the joint Cooperation Protocol with the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation. The Protocol avails agricultural guidance services via mobile as well as providing the framework for launching a Call Center for Egyptian farmers, with investments of up to 15 million Egyptian pounds.

The Center will provide specialized guidance to Egyptian farmers through the ARC, in cooperation with Quick Serve. As Vodafone's principal partner, Quick Serve will be responsible for implementing the project as well as providing technical assistance throughout all phases of operation. In a media announcement, Vodafone announced the distribution of one million mobile phone lines, free of charge, to farmers across Egypt to provide them with guidance and tips on the various types of crops in order to yield the highest possible productivity per acre of land.

In a signing ceremony held during today's Press Conference, Ms. Dalia Farouk, CEO of Quick Serve, together with Dr. Mohammed Fathy, President of the Agriculture Research Center affiliated to the Ministry of Agriculture, signed the joint cooperation protocol.

In an earlier statement last week, Dr. Ayman Farid Abou Hadid, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, had witnessed the launch of the initiative and confirmed that farmers will now be able to access first hand information pertaining to agricultural crops and veterinary issues from specialists employed at the ARC, at no added charge. Abou Hadid also called upon the private sector to cooperate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation in making contributions to all areas of agriculture, as well as to outlining various visions that may better serve the agricultural sector.

The press conference was attended by Dr. Mustafa El Garhy, Head of Agricultural Extension Affairs - Ministry of Agriculture, as well as by Dr. Ahmed Gamal Ed-Din, Vice President of the ARC. Furthermore, Eng. Khaled Hegazy, Director of External Affairs, Mr. Khaled Riad, Head of Consumer Sales, Ms. Riman Ramadan, Head of Corporate Affairs and Mr. Walid Adel, Senior Sales Manager attended the event as representatives of Vodafone Egypt. On behalf of Quick Serve, Vodafone Egypt's partner in the implementation of this pioneering initiative, Ms. Dalia Farouk, CEO, and Mr. Ahmed Mansour, Quick Serve Board Member, also attended the Press Conference.

The cooperation protocol is considered a quantum leap in the life of Egyptian farmers. Through modern communication technologies, farmers will now have continuous means of communication as well as wide-scale agricultural guidance on all phases of agriculture, starting from cultivation all the way through harvesting. Moreover, farmers will also be able to inquire about the various means of irrigation and fertilization, as well as acquaint themselves with the most favorable marketing opportunities.

Eng. Hatem Dowidar, CEO of Vodafone Egypt, expressed his contentment with this pioneering initiative, indicating that it will open up new horizons for Egyptian farmers enabling them with the latest in mobile communication services.

Through theses services, farmers will have access to opportunities to improve their productivity and, accordingly, enhance the agricultural sector. Dowidar explained that, through employing Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Vodafone is very keen on lending support to all sectors potentially capable of contributing to the development of the Egyptian economy.

Dowidar explained that agriculture is deemed one of the primary sectors that can contribute significantly to increasing Egypt's growth rate and enhancing its economic prospects.

The vast agricultural area Egypt possesses alone, if utilized optimally, can place Egypt at the forefront of agricultural development; hence, with a view to increasing productivity, the cooperation protocol seeks to achieve the maximum possible use of such available agricultural area.

Eng. Khaled Riad, Head of Consumer Sales at Vodafone Egypt, added that the Protocol being signed today, via Quick Serve, is considered another step on Vodafone's commitment to distribute one million mobile phone lines to farmers during the initial phase of the project geared to provide agricultural guidance services. By virtue of the agreement, a specialized Customer Service Center will also be established to better serve Egyptian farmers; which is considered a revolution in utilizing communications technology to support the agricultural sector.

Riad indicated that the Protocol will be implemented in cooperation with the Agricultural Extension Sector as well as the Agriculture Research Center of the Ministry of Agriculture. Under the protocol, SIM cards will be distributed to farmers, free of charge.

Each farmer will receive tips and information regarding crop cultivation. In addition, Vodafone Egypt will establish a specialized Service Center, in line with Vodafone's international standards in the call center operation. In cooperation with ARC experts, the Center aims to better serve Egyptian farmers. Furthermore, Ms. Fadwa Elkosairy, Vodafone Egypt's Service Model Senior Manager, stated that the project is designed to offer farmers with IVR and short messaging services to address all inquiries they may have regarding information and tips for their relevant crops.

Ms. Dalia Farouk, CEO of Quick Serve, stated that she was pleased to conclude this partnership with Vodafone, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture. The partnership is intended to carry out a project that is considered the first of its kind not only in Egypt, but in the entire Middle East as well. Farouk added that the project is expected to save farmers considerable time and effort previously exhausted in accessing required agricultural information and guidelines.

This pioneering project is considered a great model for employing the latest potentials of communications and information technology in advancing vital sectors of the economy like Agriculture.

Enhancing this vital sector is bound to boost competitiveness to raise the standard of living of Egyptian farmer, and accordingly, support the development of the Egyptian society.