Rooftop cultivation: Environment-friendly, job-generating endeavor

Plants grown in a building’s rooftop garden. (Photos: Dana Al-Zyadat/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Rooftop farming projects are often considered part of the green economy, as they make better use of available resources, help preserve the environment, and may provide decent work opportunities, especially for women.اضافة اعلان

A report issued last November by the Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies showed that Jordan has great potential to boost its economy and provide decent jobs through the expansion of projects that rely on green resources.

The report is in cooperation with the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation, entitled “Jordan has wide opportunities to generate new job opportunities through the green economy”.

 According to Razan Al-Momani from Jordan Labor Watch, planting rooftops provides job opportunities in the field of green economy, and women, especially those who have children, see such projects an appropriate work environment and a source of income.

The Phenix report, released to coincide with the holding of the Global Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, indicates that many sectors, including agriculture, have great opportunities to create decent, sustainable, and direct jobs if they resort to alternative and renewable energy sources and recycling technologies.

Environment expert Hala Murad said that while the implementation of these projects contributes to solving many problems, including unemployment, “we suffer from a lack of experience and capacity building”, and “there is no general tendency to exploit the surrounding space in homes, for example”.

Even if rooftop cultivation does not become a source of income, it may contribute to a family’s self-sufficiency, and is considered safe food, she said.

“So far, we have not reached the stage where there is a great demand for it, nor has it become a phenomenon, as the system implies financial costs that some people cannot afford,” she said.

 Still, she added, “they are to some extent reasonable”.

Murad said farming should be encouraged, especially that it saves water and does not depend on chemicals, thus having a positive impact on the environment.

“Past curricula used to teach agriculture and its importance, but today this is absent from education,” she said.

Director of Agricultural and Economic Studies at the National Center for Agricultural Research Masnat Al-Hiary said that rooftop farming is part of the green economy projects that “exploit surfaces, preserve the environment and provide decent job opportunities, especially for women”.

 “For example, in Amman, agricultural lands are seldom available, and this can be replaced by relying on rooftop cultivation,” she said, urging the adoption of this type of agriculture as it is low-cost and saves water.

According to her, there are international projects that encourage rooftop cultivation, which “costs approximately JD35 per square meter and saves 70 percent of water” consumed for agricultural purposes, “which is very suitable for urban areas, regions which lack rainfall and soil that is unsuitable for cultivation”.

Mohammad Syam, founder and CEO Senara Company, said “we planted roofs through the hydroponic system, in a project that began in 2019”. He explained that “we were looking for people or a target group from Gaza camp, therefore many organizations such as UNICEF, Dar Abu Abdullah Association and Oxfam funded our project” which saw 10 rooftops planted”.

Now, “we are moving to cultivate the Jerash and Al-Nasr camps”, he added,

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