The contribution of Jordan’s agricultural sector to the national GDP has reached 30 per cent, according to President of the Jordanian Farmers Union Mahmoud Oran.

Oran highlighted the agricultural sector’s environmental, economic and social significance, noting that it is a “generator” for other economic sectors and employs thousands of people in Jordan.

“Increasing or decreasing the sector’s contribution to the GDP depends mainly on the plans and strategies of the government. The agricultural environment in Jordan is capable and ready to increase production and thus increase its contribution to the GDP,” Oran told The Jordan Times.

According to Oran, there are 3 million dunums of irrigated land in the Kingdom with the ability to grow wheat.

“If only a third of this land were exploited Jordan would be able to produce at least 500,000 tonnes of wheat, which may help reach self-sufficiency,” he said.

Oran added that the most prominent challenges the agricultural sector faces are climate change and legislation, which dictates how the agricultural sector operates and has the potential to limit growth in the sector.

He recommended improving scientific research to confront climate change by producing crops that can adapt to changing weather conditions, such as wheat or barley.

Oran also highlighted the importance of water harvesting, especially now that weather experts can predict the rainy season.

He encouraged the government to provide incentives for farmers such as exemptions from certain fees or providing interest-free loans.

Jordanian farmers adopted drip irrigation 40 years ago to ration water use, according to Oran, making Jordan “the first country in the region to use drip irrigation”.

He noted that Jordan is heading towards hydroponic and aquaponic crops, which have the added value of reducing fertiliser consumption.


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Batool Ghaith