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‘Losses mounting for farmers, exporters over truck shortage’

By Hana Namrouqa - Jul 01,2015 - Last updated at Jul 01,2015

The country is witnessing abundance in production of fruits and vegetables this year that covers both the needs of the local market and exports, according to the Merchants Union of Vegetables and Fruits Exporters (Photo by Hassan Tamimi)

AMMAN — Farmers and exporters are continuing to incur losses as a shortage in refrigerated trucks persists, the Merchants Union of Vegetables and Fruits Exporters said on Wednesday.

Union President Saadi Abu Hammad said there is a surplus of fruits and vegetables in the local market, which caused prices of produce to plummet.

“The fact that there are insufficient refrigerated trucks to carry our produce abroad is leaving the local market inundated with fruits and vegetables, whose prices continue to drop and thus farmers and exporters are incurring losses every day,” Abu Hammad told The Jordan Times.

He attributed the “crisis” to several factors, noting that the country is witnessing abundance in production this year that covers both the needs of the local market and exports, and Gulf countries are now importing 70-80 per cent of their needs of fruits and vegetables from Jordan due to the unrest in Syria.

“We have informed the ministries of trade and transport about our need for an extra 80 refrigerated trucks to address the shortage, but there is no response yet,” Abu Hammad added.

However, on Tuesday, Land Transport Regulatory Commission Chief Commissioner Marwan Hmoud told the Jordan News Agency, Petra, that an arrangement has been reached between the merchants union and the Jordan Truck Owners Association under which work will continue to secure more foreign refrigerated trucks as needed to transport produce to Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Hmoud said the commission is coordinating with the Agriculture Ministry to secure the transport of agricultural exports to Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf.

The country’s fleet of 2,900 refrigerated trucks carries fruits, vegetables, meat, frozen poultry and pharmaceuticals to the Gulf states, according to Abu Hammad.

The union president previously said that the rates of renting refrigerated trucks have more than doubled — from JD1,500 to JD3,200 to Dubai, and from JD1,173 to JD2,582 to Kuwait.

He said the union calls for either increasing the number of refrigerated trucks or allowing the entry of foreign refrigerated trucks to transport fruits and vegetables to Gulf countries.

Agriculture Ministry Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin said the ministry is following up on the shortage of refrigerated trucks and is working with related ministries and institutions to reach a solution.

 

Haddadin told The Jordan Times that despite the shortage, Jordan exported 3,800 tonnes of fruits and vegetables on Tuesday. 

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