AMMAN — Rising demand and a shortfall in supply is causing vegetable prices to rise, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Tuesday.
The prices of vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini, beans, cauliflower and lemons have increased after high temperatures caused the Kingdom’s agricultural output to decline this summer, Nimer Haddadin, the ministry’s spokesperson, told The Jordan Times.
The shortage is also due to the rotation from summer crops to winter crops, as the Kingdom enters orweh tishrineyeh: the period between September and the end of the year during which farmers plant winter vegetables in the Jordan Valley.
Vegetables cultivated during this period include cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants and zucchini.
“In addition, the prices rose because there is an increase in demand on vegetables in light of the presence of more than 200,000 Syrian refugees in the country,” said Haddadin.
According to the ministry, the 4,888 tonnes of vegetables were supplied to Amman’s Central Market during the first 10 days of September compared to 5,115 tonnes during the same period last year.
Tomato, cucumber, potato and zucchini prices rose by about 25-30 per cent over the past few weeks, according to vendors.
“The farmers increased their prices because the production of vegetables is low. Two weeks ago, I used to sell potatoes for JD0.4 per kilo but today I sell them for JD0.65 per kilo,” Ahmad Fattah, a produce vendor in downtown Amman, told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.
“People are not buying vegetables in large quantities. Some of my clients used to buy four or five kilos of tomatoes at a time, but now they buy one or two kilos maximum,” he said.
Another produce vendor, who identified himself as Mansour, said the prices of some vegetables had risen by 25 per cent in the past two weeks.
“Prices of carrots, cucumbers, cabbages and other items are higher than two weeks ago because of low supply,” he said.
Approximately 360,000 dunums in the Jordan Valley are cultivated and irrigated.
The Kingdom’s agriculture relies mainly on rainwater, but only 1.1 per cent of its total area receives an average of 400-600 millimetres of rain, according to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.
Around 91 per cent of Jordan’s total area of 97,000 square kilometres is situated in arid areas with an annual rainfall average of 50-200 millimetres, while 2.9 per cent of the country’s land is categorised as semi-arid.