Ministry urges farmers to plant wheat to shore up food security

5. Agricultural Ministry
A farmer deposits wheat into a pickup truck in this undated photo. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Minister of Agriculture Khaled Hneifat has urged Jordanian farmers to cultivate wheat but said that a tonne of wheat is sold at JD500, the highest price globally.اضافة اعلان

In remarks to Al-Mamlaka TV, Hneifat said the ministry purchased 20,000 tonnes of wheat from local farmers in 2021, making up 2 percent of Jordan’s consumption of 1 million tonnes.

Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Lawrence Majali said the minister’s remarks came to affirm the government’s direction towards a national sustainable agriculture plan to address a shortage in local produce and evolve towards achieving food security.

Majali said to increase wheat cultivation, government measures would be required to support farmers to overcome such challenges as climate change, urban sprawl on agricultural land, and a public shift away from farming and harvesting.

“A likely global food crisis has begun to loom in the horizon, and Jordan is not immune,” said Mahmoud Al-Oran, head of the Jordan Farmers Union, commending the ministry’s resolve to strengthen the agricultural sector as a necessary move that fulfills a popular demand.

He pointed out that the biggest challenge farmers are facing today is agricultural regulation and supervision in light of recent climatic conditions that have caused severe damage to crops.

Mishaal Al-Arameen, a wheat farmer in Madaba, said another problem facing farmers is a shortage of water, noting that the wheat crop this year will not surpass 5–10 percent of its annual average, compared to 60–70 percent in the past two years.

Moreover, Arameen said that farmers have been demotivated from cultivating wheat due to the high cost of wheat seeds imported from Lebanon and Syria, which rely on irrigation, unlike local wheat which is rain-fed and costs less to grow.

Chairman of the Jordan Environmental Union Omar Shoshan said “an agricultural map is needed to identify areas with high-quality soil and a good amount of rainfall in addition to premium grains, while staying away from lands characterized by biodiversity.” He also said that contingency plans must be in place to confront droughts and counter possible risks.

Shoshan pointed out that most wheat cultivation is in areas with little rainfall, while regions that receive good amounts of precipitation are not qualified for wheat cultivation.

Loay Baybars, chairman of the Agrosuppliers and Producers Association hailed the government’s drive to achieve self-sufficiency, but said a strategic plan is needed and “the government must provide guarantees to farmers with relation to the price and marketability of their crops.

Read more National news
Jordan News