Enhancing the resilience and sustainability of Jordan's agricultural sector - ESCWA
20-21 October 2021
Regional Consultation

Enhancing the resilience and sustainability of Jordan's agricultural sector

Meeting
Location
  • Amman, Jordan
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Within the framework of the project on enhancing the resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector in the Arab region, ESCWA, in cooperation with the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development, organized a national consultation session on enhancing the resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector in Jordan. The session is part of a series of five national consultation sessions in Arab countries.

The consultation session considered ways to bolster Jordan's agricultural sector in the face of climate change, the unsustainable use of natural resources and the COVID-19 pandemic. The session, which gathered key national stakeholders from the agriculture sector, resulted in practical recommendations and the identification of national priorities. Representatives from the ministries of Agriculture, Water and Irrigation, Planning and International Cooperation participated in the national session, in addition to specialists in agricultural, environmental, marketing, and academic fields and representatives from associations and institutions from the public and private sectors and civil society.

It is expected that these five national consultation sessions in the targeted countries will result in a comprehensive document that identifies priorities and recommendations for the region's agricultural sector.

Outcome document

The national consultation session aimed at identifying ways of enhancing the agricultural sector’s resilience and sustainability in Jordan in the face of climate change, the unsustainable use of natural resources and the COVID-19 pandemic. Main key messages that resulted from the consultation session included:

  • Concerting efforts of all parties related to the agricultural sector, including ministries, institutions, and regional and international organizations, in order to support the sector and enhance agricultural production in Jordan in terms of quantity and quality.
  • The necessity of cooperation between all concerned parties in the agricultural sector in Jordan from the public and private sectors to face the problems and obstacles that affect the enhancement of the sector’s resilience and sustainability, especially problems related to climate change, marketing and financing, and the availability of accurate and reliable information and statistics.
  • The necessity to expand water harvesting projects to provide water for the agricultural sector and for supplementary irrigation by increasing the number of dams, hafairs and water collection wells, in addition to maintain and rehabilitating existing dams and hafairs.
  • Developing and updating legislations that regulate the agricultural sector and encouraging cooperation with relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Water and the Ministry of Environment.
  • The need to introduce modern agricultural technology andtechniques that help increasing productivity in quantity and quality in addition to using improved seeds resistant to drought, heat, diseases and various insects.
  • The need to provide marketing information, and to encourage contract farming and regulate related laws, and the need to increase agricultural businesses, and to develop value chains in the agro-food sector including post-harvest handlings in a way to contribute to reducing crop losses
  • The need to activate and support the role of agricultural extension, especially in training rural women to improve their production in quantity and quality.
  • Improving financing policies and raising the capital of the financial institutions involved in the agricultural sector
  • Activating investment laws and creating an attractive investment environment in light of the creation of a Ministry of Investment in Jordan.
  • Working to reduce food waste in Arab countries in general, including Jordan, where traditional customs contribute to increasing the amount of wasted food.
  • Activating cooperation between all partners, including the private sector
  • The need to address addressing institutional reform policies given their direct and indirect impact on the agricultural sector
  • The need to pay more attention to food security issues and their link to the scarcity of water and land resources, climatic changes and biodiversity
  • The necessity of creating an insurance system to compensate workers in the agricultural sector against various risks.
  • Enhancing intra-regional trade with Arab countries to help solve the obstacles they face in terms of customs procedures among other problems.
  • The necessity of introducing and developing agricultural and environmental policies and strategies and the role of the institutional factor to ensure work sustainability.
  • Working on developing the internal and external marketing environment by supporting the application of good agricultural practices and supporting farmers to achieve the relevant sustainable development goals. 
  • The need to pay more attention to empowering women and rural youth.

This paper presented an overview of the most important factors that affect agricultural development and food security in the Arab region, especially those related to water and land conservation, and to climate change impact. The paper also included a conceptual framework on resilience and sustainability, and a guide for following up and evaluating the state of sustainability in the Arab agricultural sector. It also addressed the main requirements for enhancing the resilience and sustainability of agriculture in the Arab region.

This paper presented the context of the agricultural sector in Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon and the challenges faced by rural agricultural communities in these countries, mainly climate change, decline in areas of agricultural lands and water scarcity. Additionally, the paper addressed vulnerabilities of rural agricultural communities in the three countries and presented a number of proposed measures to enhance the resilience of the rural agricultural communities in each country.

Given the water scarcity problem in the Arab region, this paper focused on the high potential of rainfed agriculture to improve production and productivity levels in several countries of the Arab region. The paper also presented agricultural strategies and practices that allow improving water and land productivity in rainfed agriculture through adopting rainwater harvesting, supplemental irrigation, conservation agriculture, genetic improvement, integrated disease and weed control, among other good practices. Additionally, the paper noted the need to increase investment, capacity building and research in rainfed agriculture.

During this session a brief introduction to the agriculture sector in Egypt was presented, in addition to efforts made in agricultural development and main risks and challenges facing the sector and its sustainability, especially in relation to water and land resources and climate change impacts. The presentation also covered main interventions and trends towards enhancing resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector in Egypt.

The session included an overview of several AOAD projects namely:

  • Livelihood improvement project in Darfur state in Sudan which aimed at enhancing food security, increasing income, and building the resilience of poor rural families against shocks
  • Livestock distribution projects in Ghor Fifa area in Jordan and various regions in Egypt,

Integrated water-agriculture component project in Saint Catherine region that promoted water-energy-food nexus approach through improving water resources use, implementing capacity building activities, promoting solar energy adoption among other activities.

Participants were separated into three working groups, and each group was assigned to study one dimension of enhancing the resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector, as follows:

  • Socio-economic dimension
  • Environmental dimension and climate change
  • Women and youth empowerment

For each dimension, participants were specifically requested to identify the main challenges facing the agricultural sector in Jordan, and to propose for each challenge a number of solutions and indicators to measure improvement.

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