Queen Rania at the launch of the National Program for Organic Farming

May 12, 2009

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department- Amman)  Her Majesty Queen Rania, on Monday, inaugurated the National Program for Organic Farming held under the Patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II in an effort to promote a sustainable approach to organic agricultural development across the Kingdom.

In line with His Majesty King Abdullah II's announcement of 2009 as the “Year of Agriculture,” the National Program for Organic Farming encourages the adoption of organic farming as a possible alternative for the diversification of production among small farmers.

“What I’ve heard here today makes me very proud. We are on the right track to embedding and expanding organic farming throughout Jordan,” said Her Majesty.

“Our main goal is twofold: to improve farmers’ livelihoods by selling quality products at competitive prices, and also to give consumers a healthy lifestyle choice,” continued Her Majesty.

With global demand of organic products rising, the program seeks to boost the Kingdom’s exports by transferring organic agriculture technologies to farmers willing to move from traditional to organic farming practices.

During the event, HE Faisal Al Fayez, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the King Abdullah Fund for Development (KAFD) highlighted social, environmental and economic benefits associated with a shift to organic production

Underscoring the need to broadcast the benefits of organic products to consumers, Her Majesty also asserted: “Evolving our farming sector requires a mindset shift in our current agricultural practices; it’ll take time, effort, and greater coordination between all key players, but I have every confidence that it will happen, and Jordan will take its place in the global organic movement.”

Organic Farming, which typically avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, plant growth regulators and livestock feed additives, “significantly increases farmers net revenues compared to conventional farming and decreases production costs,” said Eng. Rabeeh Salameh, Program Coordinator for the Development of Organic Farming.

In a series of workshops aimed at building capacities for the production, certification and marketing of organic agricultural products, the program will train over 400 farmers and target 50 farms selected from different Governorates across the Kingdom.

The training programs will also focus on legislation, procedures and norms existing in the field of organic farming thus benefiting public agricultural institutions involved.

The program is executed by the King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD) and will be implemented by The Institute for Marketecology (IMO), specialized in the field of organic certification and quality assurance.  IMO will train farmers for a period of three years and will assist in certifying farms that have converted to organic production.

According to a recent study conducted by IMO, over 80% of utilized agricultural land in Jordan can be transformed to organic production in line with European and American standards.

In addition to IMO, the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), which began researching best practices and formulating the Organic Farming Regulations upon Her Majesty’s directive in 2002, will continue to work with local partners to build institutional capacities and equip farmers with the necessary skills needed to increase productivity.

During the meeting attended by 300 local farmers, Eng. Anwar Halah interviewed, Ziyad Jabir, Tayseer Al Khatab and Khaled Al Otoun, who shared their organic farming experience highlighting benefits and advantages reaped.

Also during the session, representatives from the Royal Scientific Society, The Jordanian Farming Society and the Centre for Agricultural Awareness discussed the importance of promoting adequate organic farming methods in local communities and creating awareness about the advantage of switching to organic farming.

The launch event was also attended by the Minister of Planning, H.E. Suhair Al-Ali, the Minister of Agriculture, H.E. Saeed Al Masri, H.E. Faisal Al Fayiz, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of KAFD, H.E. Al Sharifeh Zein Bint Nasser, Head of the Hashemite Fund for Development of Jordan Badia, H.E. Yousef Al Dalabeeh, Head of the Agriculture Committee in the House of Senates, H.E. Wasfi Al Rawashdeh, Head of the Agriculture Committee in the House of Representatives), H.E. Yousef Al Issawi, Advisor at the Royal Hashemite Court) Valentina Quseisiyeh, Director General of the Jordan River Foundation, Governmental bodies who work on organic farming, Jordanian Universities, and the private sector.