Norwegian ambassador, FAO director visit Sahara Forest Project in Aqaba

Sahara project
(Photos: Handout from Sahara Forest Project)
AMMAN — Norway’s ambassador to Jordan, Espen Lindbæck, accompanied by Jordan’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) director, Nabil Assaf, visited the Sahara Forest Project (SFP) site in Aqaba on Monday, to review the project’s latest developments and witness part of the technical training provided to young Jordanian women, according to a press statement. اضافة اعلان

During the visit, guests toured the site where they learned about the technology used to revegetate arid lands using seawater and solar energy to produce vegetables. These efforts are part of the project’s efforts to boost the Kingdom’s ability to achieve food security and demonstrate a green economy solution.

Assaf emphasized the importance of SPF as a project stating that “the desalinated seawater is used in agriculture and at the same time increases the green cover in the surrounding areas, and this is a very good thing. The challenge may be the cost component, but the more we work to reduce the cost, the more successful the project will undoubtedly increase.”

“From here, we invite banks and the private sector to pay attention to this issue and we are ready to provide them with all relevant information and studies in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Water and Irrigation as major partners in preserving water and the environment for a better tomorrow for future generations,” he added.

For the technical training, the guests were able to see the third cohort of young Jordanian women who received their second practical training on agricultural technologies as part of “She Grows” program directly on site. The program is being implemented in cooperation with Al-Hussein Technical University (HTU).

“She Grows is a great example of institutional cooperation that puts skills training on sustainable agriculture and women’s participation at the center. Sahara Forest Project is doing an excellent job in advancing this agenda together with HTU,” said Lindbæck.

She Grows is one of the strategic pillars of SFP and resembles its social impact arm aiming to enhance women participation in the agriculture sector.

The program was established on the sidelines of the Norwegian Royal visit to Amman in 2020. The 300-hour program aims to develop the skills and competencies of young Jordanian graduates interested in working in innovative and sustainable agritech and food production in response to Jordan’s water, energy, and climate action priorities. The training covers technical skills, soft skills, and English language.

SFP is a unique example of Jordanian-Norwegian partnership that has been operating in Aqaba, Jordan since 2017 following a royal inauguration, and is now at a stage to upscale to commercial levels of production, pending a seawater pipeline which was tendered by Aqaba Development Corporation late last year.  

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