Experts Highlight Jordan’s Sustainable Food Security Solutions Over Quarter Century

Amman, Feb. 13 (Petra) – Jordan has successfully navigated the complex trifecta of food security, climate change, and refugee crises over the past twenty-five years, with His Majesty King Abdullah II demonstrating early foresight into the severity of these challenges and prioritizing them on a national scale.

King Abdullah II’s recognition of these challenges was deeply rooted in the regional and global conflicts, as well as the ensuing refugee crises. Addressing the 28th Climate Change Conference in Dubai last year, His Majesty underscored the interconnectedness of climate change with the profound human suffering resulting from wars, highlighting the exacerbation of environmental threats like water scarcity and food insecurity.

During the 27th Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, His Majesty emphasized the shared responsibility of all nations in supporting countries hosting refugees. He emphasized the strain placed on Jordan’s limited resources by high temperatures, water scarcity, and the unusual surge in population growth due to the significant influx of refugees.

Recognizing the vulnerability of refugees and host countries to climate change effects, Jordan proposed the “Climate-Refugee Nexus” initiative to prioritize support for countries bearing the brunt of climate change impacts.

Experts, in discussions with the Jordan News Agency (Petra), affirmed Jordan’s transition towards sustainable solutions in recent years through collaborative efforts, scientific research advancements, agricultural land reclamation, and support for farmers, all aimed at fostering self-reliance and enhancing food security. These efforts consider the added challenges posed by conflicts and refugee influxes, which have led to irregular population growth alongside climate change concerns.

Akef Al-Zoubi, Chairman of the Water and Agriculture Committee in the Senate, acknowledged King Abdullah II’s proactive approach to anticipating challenges to Jordanian food security. His Majesty’s keen insights into Jordan’s food balance and the global food market’s dynamics, amid ongoing conflicts, refugee crises, and the COVID-19 pandemic, underscore the nation’s commitment to addressing these multifaceted challenges.

Despite facing challenges including limited financial, water, and natural resources, coupled with waves of refugees from neighboring Arab nations due to security instability, Jordan has made significant strides in food security, agricultural development, and climate change mitigation.

Referring to statements by senior officials at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Klopp highlighted Jordan’s commendable performance in maintaining grain stocks and provision during the Russian-Ukrainian war. The government’s swift actions in developing and implementing immediate response strategies ensured the continuity of food supply chains and bolstered strategic stockpiles, stabilizing commodity availability and prices. This proactive stance prevented shortages experienced in countries with stronger economies.

The Kingdom’s commitment to agriculture and food security is evident through various initiatives, including the launch of development and investment projects by the Ministry of Agriculture. The National Plan for Sustainable Agriculture 2022-2025 and the National Strategy for Food Security 2021-2030, along with hosting a quadripartite Arab agricultural meeting, underscore Jordan’s dedication to fostering regional cooperation in agricultural development.

Hosting the Arab Forum for Agriculture, in collaboration with the Arab League and the United Nations, further solidified Jordan’s role as a hub for agricultural discourse. The “Amman Statement,” issued at the forum’s conclusion, emphasized the importance of Arab agricultural integration in achieving food security, outlining recommendations for enhancing agricultural development and food security across the region.

Klopp emphasized that food security is influenced by various factors, including climate change, water scarcity, droughts, fluctuations in rainfall, and geopolitical crises such as the war on Gaza and the Syrian conflict. Despite these challenges, King Abdullah II’s directives to modernize agricultural processes, adopt advanced technology, support scientific research, reduce food loss, and foster public-private partnerships have significantly narrowed the gap in food security, ensuring a more resilient agricultural sector.

The King’s directives have fostered a collaborative approach between sectors to bolster food security, industrialists said.

Fathi Al-Jaghbir, President of the Jordan Chamber of Industry, emphasized the King’s dedication to enhancing food security and economic stability. His Majesty’s initiatives, particularly amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, underscore his commitment to bolstering food security and developing food industries.

Notably, His Majesty conducted field visits to Jordanian food industry factories, emphasizing the need to prioritize food industries to ensure national food security and position Jordan as a regional hub.

Furthermore, His Majesty’s efforts extended beyond national boundaries, fostering regional alliances like the Jordanian-Egyptian-Iraqi partnership and others. These partnerships aimed to strengthen regional food security and enhance cooperation in the face of global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reflecting His Majesty’s directives, national plans and strategies, such as the Economic Modernization Vision, have prioritized the food industry and food security sector for the coming decade. Initiatives like the “National Food Security Strategy” launched in 2021 aim to evaluate and address food security concerns over the next decade.

Significant progress has been made, with agreements signed with private sector investors to establish 13 factories for agricultural industries relying on local inputs. These developments have propelled the food industries sector to play a pivotal role in the national economy, contributing over 20% of total industrial production and generating significant added value.

The sector’s growth is evident, with production exceeding 4 billion dinars and added value increasing more than fivefold since 1999, contributing over 40% to the Kingdom’s GDP. Notably, the food industry’s partnership with other sectors has proven beneficial, with every dinar invested in the sector yielding JD2.55 to the national economy.

Moreover, the sector has achieved self-sufficiency in key commodities like milk, eggs, and chicken products, showcasing the competitiveness and quality of national food products. Export figures reflect this growth, with food industry exports reaching about JD600 million last year, spanning over 111 countries worldwide.

These advancements have positioned the food industries sector as a prominent investment destination, with total investments surpassing JD1.5 billion and the number of establishments growing significantly, providing employment opportunities for over 65,000 individuals, primarily Jordanians.

Basil Rimawi, an expert in food and agricultural industries, highlighted that Jordanian food products have reached over 130 global markets. He emphasized the King’s directives during the onset of the COVID-19 crisis to maintain and boost production in the agricultural and industrial sectors, recognizing their pivotal role in ensuring national food security.

Rimawi underscored the industrial sector’s continuous commitment to national food security during various crises, including the aggression on Gaza and the Russian-Ukrainian war, by employing high-quality raw materials and cutting-edge technology in production lines. He emphasized the importance of technical expertise in ensuring product quality throughout manufacturing processes.

Former Minister of Agriculture Redha Khawaldeh, commended Jordan’s progress in food and environmental security over the past 25 years, despite regional political turmoil.

He highlighted the establishment of partnerships to support the Jordanian agricultural product, noting achievements in self-sufficiency and reserve stock of essential crops.

Mahmoud Oran, Secretary-General of the Jordanian Farmers Union, emphasized the King’s consistent focus on the agricultural sector as the cornerstone of food security. Despite challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and refugee influx, Jordan maintained supply chains, showcasing adaptability and resilience.

Samer Abdel Dayem, head of the Ma’an Youth Association for Environmental Conservation, praised the King’s initiatives in establishing a food security base while addressing climate change.

He highlighted the Smart Village Project’s role in promoting green energy production, transitioning to a green economy, and diversifying organic cultivation to tackle climate challenges.

Mona Hindiyya, a member of the Board of Directors of the Jordanian Society for Sustainable Development, lauded the King’s comprehensive approach to climate change challenges.

She highlighted His Majesty’s initiatives to position Jordan as a regional hub for green development and clean energy production, emphasizing the importance of proactive measures in promoting sustainable development and stability.

//Petra// AJ
13/02/2024 18:45:53