Agricultural sector contributes 20pct to national economy - Minister

24-05-2023 09:04 AM

Ammon News - The agricultural sector contributes about 20 percent to the national economy and constitutes 6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, said Khaled Hnaifat, Minister of Agriculture.

During a panel discussion held at the Jordan News Agency (Petra) Tuesday, Hnaifat gave a briefing on the Ministry of Agriculture's achievements, most notably the launch of the National Strategy for Agricultural Development 2020-2025 and the National Plan for Sustainable Agriculture 2022- 2025 and increasing the capital of the Agricultural Credit Corporation to JD100 million.

He pointed to other achievements including the launch of the first strategy for food security in the Kingdom, liberating agricultural production input markets from monopoly, in addition to facilitating the flow of agricultural commodities, revoking conditions that impede trade and establishing the regional observatory for food security.

On providing support for the agricultural sector, Hnaifat stated that the ministry provided support, worth JD125 million, through the program of resilience in agriculture and the Value Chain Development and Innovation (ARDI or "My Land").

The minister underscored the importance of strengthening partnership with the private sector to increase investment in the agricultural sector, adding that the ministry approved the unified contract to increase private sector participation in agricultural investment, launched the investment project in agricultural stations and established agricultural industrial complexes in the southern Jordan Valley, in addition to signing two agreements with private sector investors to build two factories with five production lines.

He also pointed to a project to stimulate industries in the industrial cities, which was adopted by the ministry, and the signing of four agreements with private sector companies to establish four factories for agricultural industries in those cities.

Additionally, he highlighted the inauguration of the Jordanian-Palestinian Company for Marketing Agricultural Products in Amman, and its first branch in Jericho, predicting that the company's exports will rise to 10,000 tons in 2023, going up from 2,000 tons exported in 2022.

On food security, Hnaifat indicated that JD48 million will be allocated to finance 11,308 food projects as part of the agricultural plan's top priorities.

On leveraging technology in the agricultural sector, Hnaifat said that the ministry has worked to improve the efficiency of irrigation water use and saving water in several ways, the most important of which are water harvesting and cocoon planting, in addition to developing the agricultural innovation incubator and signing 29 agreements to receive the incubator's services.

He pointed to the allocation of JD2.5 million to support loan interests for 4,050 projects that use irrigation water efficiency technology and modern irrigation systems, 75 percent of which have been implemented.

The minister said 2,500 wells were constructed to collect rainwater at a cost of JD3 million and 63 earthen pits and dams were built in the Badia region and various regions of the Kingdom in 2022.

On job opportunities, he indicated that six centers were built for training farmers and the unemployed on modern agricultural technology (hydroponic and aquaponics), in addition to training 1,250 people on modern agricultural techniques, supporting women’s empowerment projects and allocating JD5 millions to implement 2,488 projects for women who live rural areas.

On the national afforestation projects, he explained that 150 kilometers of roads have been afforested and a tender has been announced for afforesting 3 oases in Qatraneh, Al-Abyad and Unaizah with an area of 4,000 dunums, in addition to starting the afforestation of 100 dunums in Al-Hisha Forest, and announcing a tender to purchase 50,000 cocoon plants and afforest 4000 dunums in the governorates of Irbid, Jerash and Ajloun.

Hnaifat pointed out the importance of agricultural extension in the advancement of the sector, noting that the ministry has completed the preparation of 22 extension centers, and put out a tender to purchase electronic extension systems and established a rural products exhibition in Amman at a cost of JD3 million, with an area of 8,000 square meters.

The ministry also launched, according to Hnaifat, the Agricultural Marketing Company, which carried out contractual cultivations with a number of local farmers and signed contracts with 7 European countries and agreements to establish 12 factories in the industrial cities.

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