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Farmers count losses as wildfires engulf Jordan Valley

By Rayya Al Muheisen - Sep 10,2022 - Last updated at Sep 10,2022

Wildfires are seen raging in the Jordan Valley in this photo taken on Friday (Photo courtesy of Jamal Masalha)

AMMAN — Wildfires that swept the Jordan Valley on Friday caused thousands of dinars in produce losses, according to the Jordan Valley Farmers Union.

“Fires erupted on Friday around 2pm, engulfing an area spanning six kilometres,” said Jamal Masalha, Secretary General at the Jordan Valley Farmers Union told The Jordan Times on Saturday. 

He added that firefighters were able to extinguish the fire by 8pm on Friday. However, fires raged again on Saturday morning, said Masalha. 

“The main burnt crops were date palms, fruit trees and cereal crops,” Masalha added.

According to Masalha, tens of farms were damaged by the fire, which partially or completely burned down dozens of mature citrus trees, date palms and seasonal vegetables, in addition to farm equipment.

The wildfires spread from the Israeli side of the Jordan River and destroyed farmers’ crops, Masalha said.

Adnan Khaddam, president of the Jordan Valley Farmers Union, said that farmers who own land adjacent to the Israeli border incur “significant losses” each season as their trees, crops and infrastructure are often burned in fires that start in Israel and spread to the Kingdom.

“This is an annual event that results in the destruction of Jordan Valley harvests,” Masalha told The Jordan Times.

“Every year, wildfires burn all our produce,” a citrus farmer in the Jordan Valley who preferred to remain anonymous told The Jordan Times. 

He added that food security is a national priority, and that Jordan needs to address this problem.

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