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Thursday, 11 October 2018

Farmer smart cards and a plan to purchase excess cotton on a quiet night on the airwaves

It was a surprisingly quiet night on the airwaves, with Hona Al Asema off the air and Lamees Al Hadidi still MIA.

The Agriculture Ministry will be issuing smart cards to farmers as of next month, which they will be able to use to acquire fertilizers, seeds, as well as diesel fuel, cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad told Yahduth fi Masr. The new cards will also allow farmers to collect amounts they’re owed on government contracts. The system will be implemented first in five governorates and expanded gradually over the course of six months to cover the rest of the country. Farmers can apply with their national ID cards at Agriculture Ministry offices (watch, runtime: 9:45).

The cards will replace farmers’ paper-based documentation, which will no longer be in service once the system is fully implemented, Agriculture Minister Ezz El Din Abu Setet told Masaa DMC. The ministry has collected data for 2.4 mn cards so far and expects to issue as much as 6.5 mn by the end of the six-month period, he added, noting that the move is part of wider efforts to transition to a paperless economy (watch, runtime: 20:59). We had heard back in March that the government was considering issuing smart cards for farmers with the aim of better tracking shipments earmarked for exports by issuing serial numbers that will serve as identifiers for different farmers’ products.

Separately, the Agriculture Ministry is looking for a loan to purchase excess cotton from farmers. The ministry is in talks with local banks for a loan with no more than a 12% interest rate to help the Spinning and Weaving Company purchase cotton from farmers, who were left with a problem of oversupply after private buyers withdrew from agreements they had signed earlier (watch, runtime: 20:59)

Egypt-Cyprus-Greece summit: The summit between the leaders of Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus in Crete yesterday got some air time on Yahduth fi Masr, which hosted political science professor Tarek Fahmy to talk about the political impact of the new regional alliance, which we also get into in the Speed Round, below (watch, runtime: 3:06).

Al Hayah Al Youm will be back Sunday, 14 October with Lobna Assal and Khaled Abu Bakr will be co-hosting, according to Youm7.

The Oksh is also making a comeback. We’re hearing that Tawfik Okasha will be on the air from Saturday-Thursday on Al Hayah TV to talk about…well, who knows, really? Need we remind you that Okasha, a former House rep. who was given the boot, recently won an appeal against a one-year prison sentence, which he received for faking his PhD.

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