Munich Personal RePEc Archive

National agro-food policies in Jordan

Soliman, Ibrahim and Mashhour, Ahmed (2012): National agro-food policies in Jordan. Published in: SUSTAINMED Project ‐ D09 / WP2T2, Report on global and sectorial policies in the MPCs and in the EU. WP2T2: A review of the national and international agro-food policies and institutions in the Mediterranean Region. Synthesis (11 October 2012): pp. 251-328.

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Abstract

Jordan is divided into three main geographic areas with different climate: the Jordan Valley, the Highlands, and the Eastern Desert. The cultivated area is equivalent to 3.4% of the total land, mostly in the Jordan Valley. Although intensive irrigation and modernization processes are available, the local agriculture has to cope with the limited water resources. The contribution of the agricultural sector to the GDP is 3.8% in 2000 and currently it employs 5.7% of the workforce in Jordan. About 80% of local agricultural production consists of fruits, vegetables, and citrus. These constitute 70% of agricultural exports, where agricultural exports (mainly to the Gulf markets) are 10% of Jordan’s total export. The meat production in Jordan is limited, though the production of poultry is more active. The total national poultry production is about 120‐140000 tons per year, and it accounts for a small share in the region’s market. However, imported poultry from Brazil and Thailand contributes progressively in reducing the domestic production. The meat processing industry is active and it has specialized in frozen processed meat products, these products are exported to the neighboring countries. The major vegetables grown locally are tomatoes (representing about 31% of total production), potatoes (about 10%), and cucumber (about 9%). Among the fruit tree products, olives represent the most important production (see the special brief). As shown in figure 2, most importantly Jordan exports, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, and curettes, while it mainly imports grain (wheat and barley). The Jordanian Government has signed a bilateral agreement with Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey, in order to import/export according to their respective needs. This sub‐sector covers the industry, which processes fruits and vegetables, namely tomatoes by companies specialized mainly in producing processing tomatoes and cooked vegetable products. Processed tomato is a large component of Jordan’s agro‐food sector. The industry produces a wide range of products coming from the local tomato crops (peeled tomatoes in cans, tomatoes cubes in cans, tomatoes concentrate, triple concentrate, ketchup, etc.). There are also other companies, which use Jordanian raw materials in the processing of ready cooked meals. There is scope for producing freeze and de‐hydrated dried fruits and vegetables, right now most of the freeze products are imported from Central and Eastern Europe. Dairy products With an output of 165 000 tons of fresh milk, Jordan produces 35 liters per capita while the domestic milk consumption is equivalent to 50 liters per capita. The country imports about 8000 tons of powder milk each year. Dairy products are generally yogurt and cheese (Halloumi type). Milk in bottles or pack is available on the local market but it is highly priced as pasteurized milk. Bakery products this sub‐sector, which includes mills, cereals and breads, is very dynamic and scattered, in fact it accounts for the greatest number of companies in the local food production. Statistics from Jordan Investment Board indicate that the grain milling firms represent 20 – 40% of total investments in the food sector. Cocoa, chocolate, and sugar product this sub‐sector is a traditional one in the Arab world, with all its industries representing the ethnic production (Halawa). The companies export to their traditional Arab and Gulf countries’ market and even to the US, for an amount of 2.184 million JD (15% of domestic production. Microfinance has not served the poorest of the poor, that is, the individuals and households who require a loan the most. The very poor typically are unable to obtain any formal loans, as they do not possess collateral, nor can they join a borrowing group. Even with moderate improvements, interest rates on micro‐finance loans are still excessive, as opposed to commercial banks. Rates are also excessive, compared to the return on investment rates of projects typically found in rural areas, such as trading and husbandry. This is understandable, as no microfinance institution declared that it is in their mission statements to serve the poorest of the poor. Thus, it is imperative that stakeholders find other methods of poverty alleviation, such as grants, subsidies and other services production. Though the role of cooperative societies in development of MSMEs in Jordan remains small, this is not because of limited number of them and volunteer activity in the country. There are over 1,000 cooperative societies are registered, yet only 25% of them, mostly in rural areas, indicate such an aim. For example, the Jordan Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) provides services in supporting MSMEs start up and growth.

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