Jordan's fruit, vegetable traders call on GAM, gov’t to extend exemption from export fees

A decision was issued last year to exempt farmers from export yard fees charged by the municipality by 75%

  
A worker wearing a protective mask arranges goods for customers in a mall amid fears of a rising number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Amman, Jordan October 7, 2020.

A worker wearing a protective mask arranges goods for customers in a mall amid fears of a rising number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Amman, Jordan October 7, 2020.

REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

AMMAN — Farmers and exporters of fruit and vegetables called on the government to urgently approve the extension of exemption of fees imposed on produce intended for export.

President of the Cooperative Society for Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Suleiman Hiyari said that several associations in the sector sent a joint statement to Mayor of the Greater Amman Municipality Yousef Shawarbeh and the prime ministry last November asking for an extension of the exemption of fees on products under the wholesale market system for horticultural products.

A decision was issued last year to exempt farmers from export yard fees charged by the municipality by 75 per cent, in addition to the exemption of the empty packaging and transportation fees, provided they are borne by the merchant.

“No decision has been issued to approve this yet, but we were told that Shawarbeh had discussed it during his meeting last week with Minister of Agriculture Mohammad Daoudiyeh,” he told The Jordan Times.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture Lawrence Majali said that Daoudiyeh and Shawarbeh discussed “several of the current central market procedures that have been previously prepared in partnership with the various sectors concerned, among which was the issue of extending the exemption period in question”.

“The minister had contacted the Ministry of Finance to follow up on the matter with Prime Minister Bishr Al Khasawneh, and we hope the response reaches us soon so we can deliver it to the sector,” he added.

Hiyari said that “the failure to extend the exemption or the delay in doing so, in light of the challenges facing farmers, are unacceptable given the negative consequences on the sector and the economy”.

For his part, President of the Jordan Exporters and Producers Association for Fruit and Vegetables Saadi Abu Hammad stressed that the delay in issuing a decision is “seriously harming farmers, especially the small-scale farmers, and will result in many financial burdens for them”.

He added: “Already, without the additional fees, farmers are experiencing difficult living conditions amidst the low prices of agricultural products.”

Calling on the Ministry of Agriculture to “unify efforts in search for a way out of the crisis that the agricultural sector suffers” Abu Hammad stressed the need to “find a mechanism to protect farmers from additional fees.”

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