Jordan seeks to improve water efficiency in agriculture

Jordanian farmers harvesting. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Jordan is seeking to improve water efficiency in the agricultural sector and will launch a project in that regard later this year in collaboration with international agencies.اضافة اعلان

Three Cabinet ministers met Sunday for discussions on the project entitled, “Building resilience to cope with climate change in Jordan through improving water use efficiency in the agriculture sector”.

Minister of Agriculture Khaled Hanifat, Water and Irrigation Mohammad Al-Najjar, and the Environment Muawieh Al-Radaideh weighed up plans for the implementation of the $33 million project, which targets southern governorates.

Of the total projected amount, $25 million is a grant from the South Korea-based Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The remainder is co-financing by ministries of environment, agriculture, and water and irrigation, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the UNDP.

Lawrence Al-Majali, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture, told Jordan News that the project’s administrative stratagem has begun. He explained that included developing an executive plan of action, creating job opportunities, and locating office spaces in the three respective ministries.

Majali emphasized that the project aims at finding the most viable water technique to obtain the highest possible amount of water for drinking and agriculture, mitigating the effects of climate change, and achieving food security within various Jordanian cities.

Nabil Al-Assaf, a FAO Amman representative who also attended Sunday’s meeting with the ministers, told Jordan News that the project will support Jordanian farmers to adopt innovative techniques and practices that will increase their ability to produce better.

Assaf maintained that the project will reduce poverty, promote sustainable agriculture, and decrease food insecurity and hunger. It will also ensure the availability and sustainable management of water by reducing the withdrawal of surface and groundwater.

It will also ensure higher quality for the surrounding water and the ability to cope with the risks posed by climate change through a range of related strategies and activities, Assaf added.

“Women play a prominent role in the project’s activities to enable them to adapt to climate change, reflecting a gender-sensitive approach to climate-smart farming,” he maintained.

In 2017, FAO and the Jordanian government agreed on the project, which will kick off this year, according to Assaf. The delay in carrying out the project seems related to allocating funds for it.

Assad said FAO acts as an accredited entity of the GCF, responsible for project supervision and implementation. FAO will work jointly with UNDP, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Assaf noted.

Water expert Dureid Al-Mahasneh told Jordan news that Jordan should take advantage of “this opportunity to confront climate change, and we must make a greater effort to think and follow a long-term approach to confronting climate change”.

“Water harvesting is an urgent necessity,” he said. “As we know, Jordan faced a great challenge as a result of drying up dams, a rise in temperatures, which caused a 90 percent evaporation of water reserves.”

Mahasneh stressed the need to strengthen the law to “protect water harvesting areas from unjust attacks”, a reference to water theft from the network.

“We hope that is a step towards expanding water harvesting projects and giving water projects a priority in Jordan,” he said.

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