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Stakeholders fear another bad farming season as rainfall levels still low

Last year’s drought and a series of extended heatwaves in the summer led to a shortage of water resources and damage to crops, mainly rain-fed fruit trees, to animal rearing and to bee farming. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — The small amount of rainfall and irregular precipitations so far in the cold season are compounding the woes of Jordanian farmers, who are already suffering from the consequences of a bad 2021 season, according to farmers and their leaders. اضافة اعلان

Some still hold hope that the rain harvest will improve.

President of the Farmers Union Mahmoud Al-Ouran said the amount of rainfall is below the seasonal averages and rain is irregular, adding that the current rain season is a continuation of last year's bad season.

Last year’s drought and a series of extended heatwaves in the summer led to a shortage of water resources and damage to crops, mainly rain-fed fruit trees, to animal rearing and to bee farming.

Added to that, the cost of agricultural input increased, due to more taxes and fees levied by the government, and to the rising cost of these items in the countries of origin.

A Jordan Valley farmer, Suleiman Doujan, said the valley's farmers' situation "is getting worse every day, due to the meager water resources and the higher rates of salinity, which affected production. This is one of the worst years in terms of water availability and production levels". As a result, "the prices of vegetables and fruit will hike, and this is not a favorable situation, not for farmers, nor to consumers."

A government official diagnosed the situation with a more optimistic tone.

Director of the Environment and Climate Change Department at the Agriculture Ministry Jaafar Al-Widyan said it is too early to judge the rain season, which might improve in the coming months. Besides, he added, the rainfall rates so far in the season are at "satisfactory levels, relatively speaking".

He mentioned the heavy rain witnessed in the southern part of the Kingdom, "which led to water accumulation in dams, while the rain harvest in the north and central Badia was within average levels".
He also said that crops presently grown by farmers are doing fine and are up to expectations so far.

Meanwhile, Ad-Dustour said that the Media and Communications manager at Water Authority of Jordan, Omar Salameh, is attributing the decline in quantities of surface water and the low dam storage rates to the modest rainy seasons during the recent years in the Kingdom.

Salameh said on Sunday that Jordan has 14 dams with a total storage capacity of 336.4 million cubic meters.

As a result of the great water challenges, the decline in rainfall rates due to climatic changes and the burden of refugees, the per capita share has decreased to about 80 cubic meters annually for all uses.

The dean of the College of Sharia, Adnan Al-Assaf, urged citizens to deal with water responsibly, as it is a precious commodity that must be preserved.

Assaf praised the role of the Ministry of Water in communicating with the University of Jordan and the German Agency for International Cooperation in issuing awareness brochures, working on projects that contribute to rationing water consumption and holding workshops that talk about water conservation from an Islamic perspective.

The lecture are part of Ministry of Water and Irrigation/Water Authority efforts to spread awareness among citizens, conserve water, reduce water losses, reduce groundwater depletion, and ration water consumption, especially in light of the scarcity of water resources and the water challenges the country faces. He said that Islam instructs on water conservation and prohibits wasting and spoiling it.

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