'AgriJordan Creating Economic Growth' article featued on FAO website
FAO - Regional Office for the Near East
Agri Jordan creating economic growth
AgriJordan is an agricultural company that is pioneering best practices in Jordan, with the aim of creating a paradigm shift in the sector. Established in 2009, AgriJordan has in less than 3 years managed to deliver proof of concept, acquire international certifications, gain access to new markets around the world and move forward with its roll-out phase of partnering and contracting with other farmers.
AgriJordan has taken a holistic approach to create an engine of economic growth in Jordan by developing value added export markets, introducing upstream and downstream support industries, and using water management techniques. Starting with selecting the proper seeds and technologies, financing, training, branding (including grading and packing) and marketing, AgriJordan is successfully running four farms in the Jordan Valley and Northern Highlands of the country.
One of the main goals of the company is to ensure the sustainability of agriculture in Jordan, as opposed to the dominant season-by-season approach. It aims to make use of the climatic advantages in Jordan, which allow for year-round cultivation, from the Jordan Valley at 400 meters below sea level to the highlands at 1,200 meters above sea level. AgriJordan has also managed to achieve water savings of up to 90% on a crop per drop formula, when compared to traditional farming.
Employing Jordanians remains one of the cornerstones of AgriJordan’s strategy. Females make up 80% of its workers and are almost entirely Jordanians. The company also hopes to expand to create more job opportunities for local communities, particularly in the Jordan Valley.
AgriJordan’s main target markets are in the Arab Gulf and Europe. The company has so far exported to and signed contracts with Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Carrefour in the Middle East and Europe.
Last year, AgriJordan exported around 500 tons of fresh produce to the Middle East. Its main products include capsicums, Fresno peppers, stone fruits, herbs, tender-stem broccoli, sugar snap and mangetout peas, okra, figs and dates. Medjool dates are of particular interest, as Jordan is one of two known regions in the world with the precise climate needed for the cultivation of Medjool.
The Arab Spring has been both a challenge and an opportunity for agriculture in Jordan. The crisis in neighboring Syria has created demographic challenges for the Kingdom and has limited AgriJordan's ability to access European markets through Syrian territory, prompting the company to focus on shipping by air, sea or through Iraq on the eastern border. Regional instability has also increased demand for the agricultural produce of Jordan which remains a stable country and able to meet these demands.
AgriJordan looks to the future with optimism as it focuses on the roll-out phase, which has been initiated and will continue to forge partnerships with local Jordanian farmers, providing the know-how and support, and contracting to purchase the produce on a long-term and sustainable basis.