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Jordan Valley greenhouses, crops destroyed by weekend storms

Farmers, stakeholders call for damage assessment, compensation

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Mar 14,2020 - Last updated at Mar 14,2020

Winds during a cold front dubbed ‘the dragon’ caused severe damage to greenhouses, trees and crops in the Jordan Valley (Photos courtesy of Nawash Al Yazjeen)

 

AMMAN — Farmers in the Jordan Valley on Friday morning sustained “severe damage to their greenhouses and crops” due to gusts that reached a speed of 120 kilometres per hour, representatives of the sector told The Jordan Times on Saturday. 

The cold front dubbed “the dragon” began impacting the Kingdom on Thursday, when authorities issued several warnings to citizens to take the necessary precautions to stay safe. Jordan witnessed a sandstorm throughout the Kingdom followed by gusts of wind and heavy rainfall on Friday at dawn. 

“Many farmers had leafy greens and tomatoes planted, and the damage was either partial to the crops or complete to the whole greenhouse, destroying every bit and leaving it bare,” Jordan Valley Farmers Union President Adnan Khaddam told The Jordan Times over the phone. 

Minister of Agriculture Ibrahim Shahahdeh formed committees in cooperation with the union, agricultural directorates and governors in the area on Friday, Khaddam said, noting that reports on the damage need to be issued “as soon as possible”. 

“Any farmer who suffered damage and does not receive compensation might not be able to go back to working in the sector again,” he added. 

“The situation was destructive, the wind destroyed the greenhouses, palm trees and crops, and many farms were damaged,” said Nawash Al Yazjeen, a farmer from the Jordan Valley.

“The count has not been carried out yet, but there are perhaps thousands of greenhouses destroyed,” he told The Jordan Times on Saturday. 

Yazjeen said that the committees started working on Saturday to assess the losses, expressing hopes that farmers will be compensated for the “grave losses” they suffered.

“Local produce is going to suffer; tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes and other crops are gone,” he added. 

Stakeholders convened in the valley on Friday and discussed the damage that was caused by the inclement weather that impacted the Kingdom on Thursday and Friday, a statement issued by the committee for agricultural coordination said.

In the meeting, participants stressed the importance of assessing damage in less than a week, compensating the farmers and amending the law on the agricultural risk fund to deal with similar cases, in addition to reconsidering regulations governing expatriate workers in the sector and reducing their work permit fees. 

The participants also proposed exempting all inputs related to agricultural production as well as Jordanian exports from all sorts of fees and taxes, in addition to providing urgent soft financing to save as much as possible in the current situation. 

 

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