Joint committee to reconsider restrictions on agricultural imports

1. Agriculture
A bustling fruit and vegetable market in Amman, in October 2013. The Minister of Agriculture has formed a committee to study restrictions on the import of produce grown locally. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
AMMAN — Stakeholders voiced their support for the Ministry of Agriculture’s move to reconsider import restrictions on agricultural produce, while calling to protect local farmers at the same time.اضافة اعلان

The ministry formed a joint committee to study and reconsider these restrictions. The committee will comprise ministry officials, representatives from the country’s chambers of commerce and industry, the Jordan Farmers Union, and a number of associations of agricultural producers.

The ministry said that forming this committee comes as part of efforts to enhance food security and increase food stocks in the Kingdom, according to a statement carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, on Friday.
The committee will work on easing restrictions on 880 imported products, each of which are subject to ten terms and conditions.

The ministry decision includes reducing the number of conditions on imported commodities that are not produced locally such as cardamom, coffee, and caviar, the ministry’s spokesperson Lawrence Majali told the Jordan News.
MP Mohammad Alaqmeh stressed the importance of protecting local produce by controlling imports and not to flood the local market that would result in an undesirable drop in prices.

Alaqmeh, who is the head of the Lower House’s Agriculture and Water Committee, said that there must be higher and lower limits set on the prices of vegetables and fruits in order to protect consumers and farmers.

Importation of cheaper alternatives is not always the solution to bringing down high prices of locally produced goods, the MP said. “There are other solutions, such as increasing production of a certain commodity and placing a price limit on them,” Alaqmeh told Jordan News.

The deputy called for providing “precise” studies on market demand and local supply to help decide which agricultural produce to import and which not to.
He also called on the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply to join the efforts in identifying which commodities are to be included in the imports list.

Alaqmeh said that some farmers have contacted him complaining about the import of vegetables they cultivate locally, which resulted in an undesirable drop in prices to below the cost of production.

He expressed discontent over not including members of Parliament during the formation of the new committee.

Farmers commended the ministry’s measures in general to protect local produce by halting the importation of crops produced in Jordan by regulating import licenses, unless there is a shortage in a certain commodity.

“Regulating imports has a positive impact on farmers and consumers alike, as this would control prices so they are not too high for consumers or too low for farmers,” said Sulaiman Dojan, a farmer.

Dojan called for increasing the imports of agricultural supplies such as pesticides, seeds and equipment to lower prices.

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