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Jordan Valley farmers call for crop damage compensation

By Hana Namrouqa - Jan 26,2015 - Last updated at Jan 26,2015

AMMAN — Jordan Valley farmers on Sunday urged the government to compensate them for losses they incurred during the recent frost spell that damaged over 30,000 dunums of crops.

Jordan Valley Farmers Union President Adnan Khaddam said freezing temperatures during the snowstorm that hit the country earlier this month damaged 15,000-17,000 dunums planted with zucchini and 10,000-12,000 dunums of potato crops.

The zucchini crop in the Jordan Valley was completely damaged during the frost spell, while the damage sustained by the potato crop varied between 90 per cent in the northern Jordan Valley and 20-40 per cent in the central and southern areas, according to Khaddam.

He called on the government to compensate farmers who incurred severe losses and “lost their source of income”.

“Initial calculations show that 30,000-35,000 dunums of crops were damaged and that hundreds of farmers and their families were affected. We urge the government to pay the farmers JD5-6 million in compensation for frost damages,” Khaddam told The Jordan Times.

Criticising the government for “ignoring the impact of the snowstorm on the agricultural sector”, Khaddam said that there are over 350,000 people living in the Jordan Valley, the majority of whom work in agriculture.

“The Jordan Valley witnessed a disaster in the aftermath of the snowstorm but the government didn’t pay any attention,” Khaddam claimed.

However, Agriculture Ministry Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin said the government is still examining the impact of the frost spell on crops in the Jordan Valley.

Technical committees from the ministry were dispatched to the northern, central and southern parts of the Jordan Valley to assess farmers’ losses nearly two weeks ago. Haddadin added that farmers, especially in the northern part of the Jordan Valley, should adhere to the ministry’s instructions to avoid frost damage, noting that potato and zucchini are “summer crops” that should be planted in September or October.

He told The Jordan Times that the ministry will decide whether or not to compensate farmers once the technical teams finish evaluating crop damage.

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