Agricultural development plan to be launched in upcoming days — minister

3. Agriculture
Women pick tomatoes in the Jordan Valley, Jordan, March 30, 2021. According to Ministry of Agriculture Khaled Hneifat, three factories will be established the southern Jordan Valley for drying tomatoes and producing tomato paste. (Photo: NYTimes)
AMMAN — The agricultural sector will see a "qualitative" leap that was initiated this year following an increase in the ministry's earmarks, with a capital expenditure amounting to JD30 million for the first time, Minister of Agriculture Khaled Hneifat said in an interview with the Jordan News Agency, Petra, on Saturday.اضافة اعلان

As a key future step, the minister referred to a comprehensive agricultural development plan, which aims to increase the gross domestic product of the agricultural sector during the next four years.

The plan, he noted, will create about 8,000 permanent jobs annually, which in turn will contribute to reducing poverty, promoting development, and further empowering rural women who are active in the agricultural sector through support to their production projects.

On the sector's investment opportunities, Hneifat said that about 36 investment opportunities will be offered in the two basins of Al-Hammad and Al-Sarhan, which are not water drained, and can supply agricultural projects with approximately 25 million cubic meters of water.

The investment should be within the ministry's parameters to support the sector for the purposes of exporting, manufacturing or cultivating crops that "do not adversely affect Jordanian farmers, who are on top of the ministry’s priorities," according to Hneifat.

Investment will be made in the food industries by establishing three factories in the southern Jordan Valley, namely for drying tomatoes and producing tomato paste, he noted.

On the mechanism of supporting Jordanian farmers, Hneifat pointed to an increase in the budget of the agricultural lending portfolio, which rose in 2021 from JD70 million to JD100 million, adding that JD35 million were disbursed in the form of interest-free agricultural loans, which created about 700 permanent jobs.

The same program will be implemented in 2022, but with intensified monitoring to provide assistance to "actual and successful" projects and to avoid supporting any ghost enterprises, or fake livestock possessions, which constituted 40 percent of farmers who received undeserved aid by misleading the ministry, as they did not own livestock, he said.

Hneifat added that focus will be on "successful" projects that provide job opportunities in the farming sector, especially projects that are managed by young farmers, who received about JD5 million of the ministry's allocations, noting that those projects "demonstrated leadership and success and created multiple job opportunities.”

Read more National news