Farmers disagree with new price ceilings, complain of difficult circumstances

A man bags tomatoes at a vegetable market in Amman in this undated photo. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/ Jordan News)
AMMAN — The head of the Jordan Valley Farmers Union, Adnan Khaddam, urged the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply to immediately rescind its recent decision to set price ceilings for some vegetables, claiming that “the decision is unfair to farmers”.اضافة اعلان

Khaddam told Jordan News that the increase in the prices of some types of vegetables and fruit “is due to the increase in production inputs, in addition to the fact that farmers face many difficult conditions, including a 50 percent shrinkage of agricultural areas”.

He added that while “the government lent support to many sectors, it did not prop up the agricultural sector, which is in constant decline”.

“The government gave us loans, and they were not easy loans either. I hope the government will support us, and that the value of farmers and what they provide to the community will not be underestimated,” said Khaddam.

Head of the Jordan Farmers Association Ibrahim Al-Sharif told Jordan News that farmers feel for the consumers, “because we are primarily citizens and consumers before being farmers”, but that the rise in the prices of some vegetables and fruit is a matter that “has got out of control”, and the “reasons are many and have accumulated”.

Among the reasons for the high prices, Sharif said, are: the farmers’ back-breaking job, which makes them, at times, reluctant to work the fields; a decrease in supply; the several waves of frost during this year; the increase in the price of production inputs, especially fertilizers, whose price per tonne increased by 300 percent.

He added that “we must strive for self-sufficiency, and this is what His Majesty King Abdullah emphasized more than once. The government must know that importing does not work, rather, it will cause many losses”.

Sharif stressed that when the situation permits, there are no price hikes; “we should never forget that sometimes the price of cucumbers reaches 20 fils per kilo, which means that we do not mean to raise prices, but the matter is linked to several factors”.

As for setting price ceilings, Sharif said that “the government should give me my rights and protect me before punishing me in this way”.

That does not mean that rumors that farmers will stop supplying the central market with produce is true, he said.

“The farmer is a patriotic person who loves his homeland and the citizens, and this is why I hope a meeting with the industry minister will help us reach solutions that satisfy all parties,” Sharif said.

Farmer Bassel Ramadneh told Jordan News that “the government still underestimates the value of farmers”, stressing that “when the government sees the importance of farms on the ground, more equitable decisions will be taken”.

“Many farmers have given up farming, and I cannot blame them; they cannot incur more losses in light of the continuous rise in production inputs and the lack of cash in their pockets,” he said.

He warned that “if the situation remains as it is now, the matter will be out of their control, they will be unable to continue production in the coming days, even if they want to”.

Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply spokesman Yanal Al-Barmawi  told Jordan News that the decision to set price ceilings for several vegetable varieties was taken to “ensure the stability of prices”, which, upon inspection at the central vegetable market, were found to fluctuate.

To decide the price ceiling, an average of the highest and lowest prices at the central market is reached, to which “a reasonable profit margin is added for the merchant, so that the price is fair to both merchant and consumer”, he said.

Read more National news
Jordan News