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Jordan: National programme for organic farming launched

On May 11, 2009, Queen Rania of Jordan launched the National Programme for Organic Farming Development, which seeks to replace traditional cultivation methods with organic farming in 2 to 5 percent of the Kingdom's agricultural lands by 2014.


The programme also aims at raising the awareness of farmers and the public on organic production and its benefits on health, environment and socio-economic systems.

Jordan, which is categorised as one of the four poorest countries in the world in terms of water availability, houses 80'152 agricultural holdings, covering a total terrain of almost 2.7 million dunums (1 dunum = 1000 square metres), according to official figures.

Executed by the King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD) and implemented by the Institute for Marketecology IMO, the programme targets several agricultural sectors including fresh and dried fruits and vegetables, aromatic herbs and medicinal plants, animal and fish production, and food manufacturing.

According to a recent study conducted by the KAFD and IMO, more than 80 percent of the Kingdom's utilised agricultural lands can be transformed into organic farms.

But the shift from traditional to organic farming will not be an easy task according to the study, which indicated an absence of local policies supporting organic farming, as well as a shortage of qualified labour and inspection and accreditation institutions.

It also revealed that high prices of organic produce discourage consumers, despite an increasing global demand on organic farming.Under the programme, the IMO will train hundreds of farmers for a period of three years and assist in certifying farms that have converted to organic production.

Source: Jordan Times of May 12, 2009

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