Northern Jordan Valley farmers say they expect losses

Women working in a field in the Jordan Valley (Photo: NYTimes)
AMMAN — Farmers of the northern Jordan Valley are anticipating that the next season citrus and fruit season will be poor and are bracing for financial losses, due to the lack of irrigation water, temperature fluctuations, and strong winds that their region witnessed during the recent flowering period. اضافة اعلان

They have articulated demands for support from the Agriculture Directorate.

According to farmers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the farmers are suffering from difficult economic circumstances on top of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Those in charge of agriculture must give us more attention and stronger support, and guide us to face these fluctuations,” one farmer told Jordan News.

“We have tried to reach the agriculture directorate but no one helped us,” he said.

Another added: “We grew up learning about nothing except agriculture. Most of us have not been to school,” he explained. “If we lose this job we will suffer from unemployment and poverty.”

“If we keep on losing money, we might not be able to plant any other fruits or vegetables in the near future, we need money to buy some planting materials — like compost for example,” he added.

However, Mahmoud Rabih, an official at the Ministry of Agriculture, told Jordan News that the water used for irrigation is not as depleted as the farmers described.

The water level is at “almost 75 percent” of its annual average, he said, adding that “their (citrus farmers’) situation is much better than the situation of the regions in the south, for instance,” he said.

“I expect some losses (for farmers) but not as big as they expect them to be,” he said.

Khaled Al-Mansi, head of the Administrative and Financial Affairs Department at the Directorate of the Northern Jordan Valley and a farmer himself, told Jordan News that he does not see the situation as dire as some farmers do.

Mansi said that it is still too early to talk about losses.

“As a person who works in the Directorate of Northern Jordan Valley, I can easily say how helpful workers here are,” Mansi claimed. “They try their best always to help anyone who is in need of help, as quickly as they can, and in different ways.”

Jordan’s annual renewable water resources are at around 88 cubic meters per person, which is considered one of the lowest percentages in the world and below the global line for absolute water scarcity of 500 cubic meters, according to UNICEF. The agency has emphasized that a “comprehensive solution” is needed to refill the greatly decreasing water levels in Jordan.

Read more national news