Dutch gov’t to grant 4 million euros to support Jordanian agriculture

A farmer ploughs a field in in this undated photo. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation signed an agreement with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), through which the Dutch government will grant Jordan an additional 4.14 million euros to finance parts of the “Rural Economic Growth and Employment Project” implemented by the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO).اضافة اعلان

JEDCO has been implementing the project over the past five years and will continue working on the project in 2022.

The grant will benefit women and Jordanian youth, according to Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nasser Shraideh, as well as smallholder farmers in several governorates.

The minister said that the grant aims to “increase the use of more modern agricultural methods, and aims to start modernizing aspects of irrigation and water harvesting for farmers, in order to increase the number of crops as well as enhance the quality of such crops. These measures are done in response to the impact of climate change”.

Under the agreement, financial grants will be provided for projects in the Kingdom’s governorates to harvest rainwater, reduce waste and use efficient irrigation systems, which is a top priority for all stakeholders. The agreement was signed by Shraideh and Regional Director of the Near East, North Africa, and Europe Division in IFAD Dina Saleh.

Chairman of the Jordan Environmental Union Omar Shoshan told Jordan News that “this project is not new by any means ... and has been ongoing since 2014”.

 “While this new agreement seems promising, I believe that some questions need to be asked. Primarily, I believe that the appropriate stakeholders need to ensure that a sizable amount of the 4 million euros provided by the Dutch government actually ends up being spent on the agriculture sector, as opposed to being spent mostly on administrative fees at IFAD, like wages, for example,” Shoshan said. “A 4.14 million euro grant to Jordan can be good from an economic standpoint, but we need to ensure that the agriculture sector will actually reap any benefits,” he added.

The projects tied to the Rural Economic Growth and Employment Project used to lack sustainability, Shoshan said.

“They would work on small-scale short-term projects, but these projects did not present any kind of long-term environmental stability for Jordan. Nearly 90 percent of past projects were not sustainable. I hope this will change in the coming weeks,” he added.

He stressed that the agricultural sector is the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, and as such, any negative impact on it will negatively reflect on the food and economic security of Jordan.

According to agricultural engineer Motasem Abu Qamar, “the news of an additional grant which will be spent on the agricultural sector strikes me as a positive step forward for rural farmers. There are encouraging stipulations in this agreement, but rural farmers continue to struggle with some issues, and I am not entirely sure if this project will address these problems”.

“Mainly, rural farmers struggle with the pricing system imposed on agricultural goods, which are often too low for them to benefit in any serious way from their hard work. The lion’s share of the profits goes to the entrepreneurs and the businessmen involved in the agriculture sector, which often leaves farmers struggling. Hopefully, more attention will be paid to this issue in the future through increased government monitoring of market prices,” Abu Qamar added.

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