AMMAN — A project aimed at enhancing resilient livelihoods and food security for more than 260,000 Jordanians and Syrian refugees through supporting the agriculture sector was officially launched on Tuesday.
Three United Nations agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), are partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture in Jordan in launching the three-year project that is being funded by the European Union (EU) with 22.2 million euros.
Additionally, the project, which is also being implemented in Lebanon, is of particular importance to support COVID-19 green recovery actions.
Minister of Environment and Acting Minister of Agriculture Saleh Kharabsheh, who addressed reporters and local and international officials, said it is important to analyse the strengths and challenges in the agricultural sector during the crisis and in light of the current conditions in the country, and build policies to transform challenges into development opportunities for the sector.
On this basis, the government approved the National Strategy for Agricultural Development for 2020-2025, which set the priorities for the next phase, and adopted programmes and measures to enhance the agricultural sector’s resilience to face current and future crises, Kharabsheh added.
“This strategy adopted the value chains of agricultural products to set priorities and future programmes, as they were not taken into account during the past decades and this was reflected in the shortfalls of responding to the challenges of the agricultural sector, especially in the digitisation and logistics aspects,” the minister said.
Also addressing the gathering, EU Ambassador to Jordan Maria Hadjitheodosio said that the EU is keen to see the results of this support, as it touches on livelihoods and working conditions of a very important component of society, the farming community, and a main development sector in Jordan that is agriculture.
“This new regional support from the EU Trust Fund [known as Madad] aims to guarantee better living conditions and employment opportunities through sustainable agriculture schemes in both Jordan and Lebanon,” Hadjitheodosio said.
The project is set to enhance agriculture opportunities, awareness and education, efficient use of available resources within a circular economy set-up, rehabilitate forests and rangeland in Jordan, according to Hadjitheodosio.
The project will collectively lead to job creation and reenforcement of this important economic sector in Jordan, both for Jordanians as well as Syrian refugees, she said.
“The EU hopes that this programme will support the agriculture sector at a time most needed, both in terms of food security as well as job creation,” Hadjitheodosiou said.
She added that the EU, together with “our implementing partners, FAO, the IFAD and WFP, is excited to work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to support the development of, what His Majesty King Abdullah considers is, one of Jordan's most important economic sectors with potential for growth”.
Meanwhile, FAO Representative in Jordan Nabil Assaf said that “with an adapted approach in Jordan and Lebanon and under the leadership of FAO, the three organisations will work on improving the livelihood and food security levels in both countries through the creation of an adequate agriculture production support system for vulnerable smallholder farmers that support good agriculture practices (GAP) and timely response to shocks”.
“The Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture has been a strategic partner for WFP since 1964. WFP is therefore very pleased to be part of this initiative by the three UN Rome-based agencies to work with the ministry to improve the food security of the most vulnerable Jordanians and refugees through agricultural activities that incorporate innovative solutions and methods,” WFP’s Deputy Country Director in Jordan Jonathan Campbell told the gathering.
The project supports vulnerable smallholders and small family-based agri-food enterprises in increasing the productivity and financial feasibility of their activities, in addition to creating job opportunities for both host communities and displaced Syrians.
It will create agriculture production support systems for vulnerable smallholders to help them understand the different options that allow them to adopt good agricultural practices and timely response to shocks, according to a WFP statement.
In addition to supporting smallholders, activities also focus on the management of natural resources, including preservation and protection of forests and rangelands, and agriculture-related water and environmental management issues, the statement added.
This joint project is part of the FAO Regional Resilience and Nutrition Initiative, and will contribute to enhancing the coordination and diffusion of lessons learned to improve the efficiency of resilience and agriculture livelihood initiatives implemented in the region, according to the statement.
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