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Rising operating costs, late planting add to farmers’ woes

By Maram Kayed - Sep 11,2019 - Last updated at Sep 11,2019

AMMAN — Farmers in the Jordan Valley have voiced their worries about a late planting season and a poor harvest.

According to several farmers, who have expressed their concern to President of the Jordanian Farmers Union Mahmoud Oran, the “green” produce for this year might arrive after September.

“Farmers usually start preparing for the new season in December, but because of the losses that the farmers have endured last season, some started a lot later, and some are still unable to start at all,” he said over the phone on Wednesday.

Oran identified high operating costs and underfunding as the farmers’ main challenges. 

“Many farms until now have not been mowed. That is because a tractor costs JD40 a day, and many will need it for at least a week or more to cover their numerous dunums,” explained the union’s president.

He added, “if you want to hire workers to mow and plow the fields, that is even more expensive, as you will need at least three workers over a period of one week or more, each of whom needs JD25 plus food and transportation. That is JD75 a day at the very least.”

Mansour Abu Ijleh, who works as an agricultural supervisor in Ghour, said that the numerous farms he oversees have planted “less than at least 40 per cent of their usual crops.”

He added: “Big agricultural companies usually fund a farmer based on the percentage he can give them of his produce. Given that many farmers paid significantly less than usual last season, the companies are funding them less as well.”

Lack of funding as well as working hands will “certainly” delay the arrival of local produce to the markets until late October, according to spokesperson of the independent Jordan Valley farmers’ union Hamzeh Syouri.

“This will affect farmers, who will have less income and therefore less to start with for next season. In consequence, it will affect tradesmen and shop owners, who will have to pay more and go through the trouble of bringing in imported produce,” said Syouri.

He continued: “At the end of this reactive chain, there are the citizens, who will ultimately have to pay more for their fruits and vegetables.”

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