Jordan’s agricultural sector struggles to recover from the effects of climate change

  • The minister said that Jordan has a multi-pronged strategy and action plan to mitigate the effects of climate change
  • The kingdom’s self-sufficiency rates are 135 percent for vegetables, 95 percent for fruits, and 100 percent for milk.
  • training of farmers in the optimal use of water; Enhance rainwater harvesting
  • The government plans to provide 40 million Jordanian dinars in interest-free loans to farmers

AMMAN – Jordan is on pace to increase the agricultural sector’s resilience to climate change, as water scarcity, reduced rainfall and higher temperatures affect the field, where more than 70 percent of total rain-fed agriculture is grown.

Jordan contributes a small amount of emissions to the total emissions. However, the water-poor country is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, and many economic sectors are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The agricultural sector, which employs hundreds of thousands and directly contributes about 5.5 percent of the country’s GDP, is one of the most climate-sensitive economic sectors.

Jordan’s total greenhouse gas emissions are inconsequential, with about 28 million tons of carbon dioxide, accounting for about 0.06 percent of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions.

The Kingdom, as the second poorest country in terms of water scarcity, has strengthened its commitment to the international climate change management system by raising the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) for the overall economy from 14% to 31% compared to Business As. The usual scenario, according to the first updated document of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Minister of Agriculture Khaled Hanifat said, in a recent report, that the Kingdom has a multifaceted strategy and action plan to mitigate the effects of climate change, which depends on the optimal use of available water resources, the introduction of advanced agricultural techniques, and the training of farmers, to name a few. An interview with the Jordan Times.

“The impact is very clear on the agricultural sector, where the majority of farmers are small farmers. Today our dams in the south are completely empty and temperatures are rising.. Farmers who live and work near the dams are suffering.. rain-fed agriculture is suffering,” Hanifat said.

“Major crops require early rains and we are used to rain sometimes in September but over the past few years we have started to rain in December if we are lucky…The irregularity and distribution of rainfall and the frequent shift in the rainy season has taken its toll,” the minister said. “Farmers and Crops”.

Jordan’s third national communication on climate change anticipates a significant impact on the agricultural sector. He predicts that increased evaporative demand, due to rising temperatures, could increase irrigation requirements by 5-20 percent, or perhaps more, by 2070.

The timing of rainfall and seasonal rainfall patterns are critical to small farmers in Jordan. Seasonality affects farmers’ decisions about when to plant, sow and harvest. It ultimately contributes to the success or failure of their crops. The report indicated that delays and below-average rainfall are likely to have a negative impact on agricultural production.

According to the updated NDC report, all models predict a warmer climate with strong confidence in an increase in temperature.

By 2070 – 2100, the average temperature increase could range from 2.1°C to 4.5°C. The forecast predicts a drier climate with medium confidence. In 2070-2100, the accumulated precipitation could decrease by 15-35 percent, and the decline will be most pronounced in the western part of the country.

All forecasts indicated warmer summers and drier autumns and winters, with medium confidence. Warming will be more important in summer, and less precipitation will be more important in autumn and winter than in spring. For example, the mean value of precipitation will decrease by 35 percent by the fall of 2070-2100. Dynamic projections predict more heat waves. In a pessimistic but likely forecast, for a summer month, the average maximum temperature for the entire country could exceed 42-44°C, according to the Nationally Determined Contributions document.

Hydroponics, hydroponics, reforestation

The minister pointed out that the agriculture sector already consumes 50% of the available water resources in Jordan, and water scarcity is the main challenge that hinders the ability to increase the percentage of cultivated land.

Fully aware of the consequences, Jordan early on began working across various fronts to mitigate the impact, including increasing reliance on water harvesting in different regions across the country, introducing new technologies such as hydroponics and water farming, and training farmers to grow less water. . Crops and increase interest-free loans to farmers.

“We are training farmers on how to make optimal use of water resources…This year, we plan to provide about 40 million JD interest-free loans to farmers, up from 35 million JD we provided last year, and we will focus heavily on expanding the use of hydroponics and hydroponics” .

The ministry is also working on a large afforestation project.

We will plant trees in areas of up to 10,000 dunums and aim to plant one million trees from south to north. It is a sustainable afforestation project and we will use treated water, the minister said, adding that the project will be implemented during 2022-2023.

He added that many projects are already underway or in the process of bidding to cultivate several dunums of land across Jordan using modern and efficient irrigation techniques to ensure the project’s sustainability.

The One Million Trees project is part of Jordan’s commitment to plant 10 million trees in the next ten years.

He added that “planting more trees will increase Jordan’s ability and resistance to face climate change, because the trees will increase the capacity of Jordan’s basins to absorb more emissions.”

rainwater harvesting

The water-intensive sector, which uses half of Jordan’s water resources, said the minister, “is trying to benefit from every drop of water because it does not get all the water it needs.”

Of its total water consumption, about 180 million cubic meters of water come from treated water annually. The Ministry, in cooperation with various partners, is working to expand the reliance on rainwater harvesting.

Jordan currently has 168 water harvesting facilities for agricultural purposes with a total capacity of 60 million cubic meters, and work is underway to build 5,000 rainwater harvesting wells in the western parts of the country, extending from Irbid to Wadi Musa where rainfall is more. From 200 mm, the minister said.

In the eastern and southern parts of the Kingdom, work is underway to build 60 water harvesting facilities. Tenders have been issued for the construction of 40 of these buildings.

He said, “This year alone, we will witness the operation of about 60 wells and water harvesting, and therefore we will witness a major change in this sector.”

In 2023, an additional 100 water harvesting and borehole buildings will also be commissioned.

“No matter how small the quantities we collect, in some areas they are very valuable and mean everything to farmers and ranchers,” he added.

Self-sufficiency and agricultural exports around the world

The minister explained that 50 percent of Jordan’s total water resources consumed by the agricultural sector, the sector was able to produce an average of 2.5 million tons annually, making it one of the highest in the world.

Despite the challenges faced by the sector, Jordan is self-sufficient in many agricultural products and the sector’s exports reach dozens of countries.

He pointed out that the self-sufficiency rates are 135 percent for vegetables, 95 percent for fruits, 100 percent for chicken eggs, 80 percent for poultry, 75 percent for red meat and 100 percent for milk.

“This is impressive in a country with water shortages,” the minister said.

Jordan’s agricultural exports reach more than 60 countries and these exports represent about 15 percent of the country’s total exports. In the first six months of 2022, Jordan’s exports of vegetables amounted to 114 thousand tons, compared to 113 thousand tons in the first half of 2021, and fruit exports amounted to 43 thousand tons in the period from January to June of this year. Compared to 55 thousand tons in the same period last year. general. Jordan’s livestock exports in the first half of this year amounted to 320,000, compared to 250,000 in the same period in 2021, according to the ministry’s figures.

“We can cultivate 77 million dunams of arable land in Jordan, but our problem is the water resources. We are working on different fronts to meet the growing demand in Jordan and achieve food security.”

According to the ministry, about 2.5 million dunams are planted in Jordan, representing about 3.25 of the arable land.

Protecting the livelihoods of many

“When we talk about the agricultural sector, we are talking about hundreds of thousands who earn their expenses because of working in this sector. They are behind Jordan’s food security, so we need to empower them as well.”

According to the minister, about 260,000 people work in the agricultural sector, 200,000 of whom are Jordanians, the vast majority of whom are Jordanian families.

Women constitute less than 1 percent of the total agricultural workers nationally and about 2.3 percent of rural agricultural workers. However, rural women often engage in unpaid agricultural work, such as seeding, weeding, loosening, and harvesting, according to the World Bank’s Action Plan for Climate-Smart Agriculture in Jordan: Investment Opportunities in the Agriculture Sector’s Transition to the Climate Resilient Growth Path Report.

Small farmers and ranchers in rural areas are the most vulnerable to the challenges. We are working across different fronts to help them and ensure their continued livelihood.”

The country’s Third National Communication Report states that “the poor in rural areas of Jordan are expected to face the most severe consequences of climate change by disrupting livelihood options that depend on managing natural resources. The projected impacts of climate change, particularly reduced agricultural productivity and water availability, threaten livelihoods and keeps vulnerable people unsafe.”

About 25 percent of Jordan’s total poor live in rural areas, and they depend mostly on agriculture – livestock keepers, smallholder farming families, and former landless farmers. Despite the indifference of rural youth to the agricultural field, it remains an important source of employment for rural communities, according to the report.

He said the ministry is working with various stakeholders to provide farmers with continuous training on new agricultural techniques, less water-intensive crops and best agricultural practices.

He added that the ministry is also working to help farmers in marketing their products.

When we talk about this sector, we talk about economic growth and food security. Hanifat said that one of the government’s most important priorities is to enable the sector to withstand all challenges and help in the sector’s sustainability.

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