Jordan has lost millions due to border closures — farmers…
AMMAN – The closure of Jordan’s borders with neighboring countries, namely Syria and Iraq, has inflicted losses on Jordan and its farmers, the farmers said.
The argument came amid comments by Agriculture Minister Khaled Al-Hneifat during a meeting with UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Qu Dongyu, tuesday.
Hneifat said 75% of the Jordanian border has been closed due to unrest in neighboring countries, such as Iraq and Syria. Accordingly, the ministry has developed the National Plan for Sustainable Agriculture, which has been in effect since the beginning of 2022.
Farmer Jamal Masalha said the closure of the Syrian border alone “cost Jordanian farmers more than JD 80 million over the last decade”. He explained that the loss was due to products from the plastic greenhouses, which were intended for export to Eastern Europe, Ukraine and Russia.
“At a cost of 1,700 to 1,800 JD per piece, there were 22,000 plastic greenhouses in Jordan whose production was intended for export to Eastern European markets via Syria,” he said. -he declares. News from Jordan.
But the export has been hampered by developments in Syria, he said. He noted that “the plan was to increase that number to 50,000 within a few years.”
“But now we have zero,” he said.
During the Syrian civil war, farmers were forced to sell their produce locally, including greenhouse produce, he said. This led to an increase in supply, coupled with a drop in demand, which drove prices down.
Alternatively, some farmers opted for exports via Israel to avoid further losses, he added.
“The border inspection with Syria lasted 8-10 days, which blocked shipments of Jordanian products for 22 days for each shipment from Jordan to Russia,” he said.
Noting that the produce was spoiling along the way, he said, “It was not good and resulted in huge losses for Jordanian farmers.”
He pointed out that the closure of the Syrian border has led to a drop in exports to Europe by 40-50%.
Walid Al Rabei, a Jordan Valley farmer who exported through Syria, said Jordanian farmers “need to export more than half of their overall production to make ends meet and maintain the profitable local price range”.
But because of the closures, “many farmers have gone bankrupt, and the majority of them now face legal liabilities,” Rabei said. News from Jordan.
Rabei proposed a barter system, which would allow Jordanian farmers to exchange products with Syrian and Lebanese farmers to compensate for some of the past losses.
“But there are powers at play here,” he warned, referring to the business and financial ramifications involved. “There are powerful producers and exporters in Jordan, who don’t want to see other farmers bringing the same products they import to the local market,” he explained.
As a result, export remains the only currently viable solution for Jordanian farmers, according to Rabei.
Agriculture ministry spokesman Lawrence Al-Majali said the ministry had been waiting for several years for “the situation in Iraq and Syria to be resolved, to restore agricultural exports to and through the traditional markets of Jordan “.
“The closure of the Syrian and Iraqi borders has caused Jordanian exports to and through Iraq and Syria to drop from 250,000 tonnes to nothing in a few years,” he said.
“Obviously, the ministry needs to find solutions, looking at the situation from the outside,” Majali added.
According to Majali, the national plan involved the creation of the Jordanian-Palestinian Agricultural Marketing Company, “which has won numerous contracts to export local products to markets in Europe and the Gulf, among other destinations”.
In fact, a recent shipment headed to Qatar ahead of the World Cup there, he noted.
“Another measure that was adopted to support the agricultural sector in Jordan was the introduction of interest-free loans to finance certain products demanded in the local market and abroad,” Majali said.
Additionally, the ministry is working to market surplus production of olives, dates and other products, the spokesperson said.
The National Plan for Sustainable Agriculture “addresses these issues to restore the profitability of the agricultural sector and find new export markets for local products, which could help revitalize the local sector in Jordan”, according to Majali.
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