Jordan Rift Valley- Agriculture and Aquaculture
 Chapter 1 The Jordan Rift Valley
 INTRODUCTION  |  JORDAN  RIFT  VALLEY  |  GULF  OF  AQABA  | SOUTH  EAST  MEDITERRANEAN  | ISRAEL  PROJECTS
 
     
7. Agriculture and Aquaculture
 Jordan Rift Valley- Agriculture and Aquaculture
 
   

The Agricultural Agreement between Israel and Jordan signed in October 1995 aims to promote cooperation in a wide range of agricultural activities and related fields. The Agreement stipulates that the two countries will work together to: open channels of communication between the relevant authorities; promote technology transfer; establish quarantine and certification measures for controlling cross-border transportation of plants, animals and their products; further cloud seeding; conduct research; and promote Jordanian produce exports to Israel.

Within the framework of the Jordan Rift Valley Development Program, several projects have been proposed for Jordanian-Israeli agricultural cooperation. Israeli and Jordanian government agencies are collaborating in planning and implementing these projects.

7.1. Awassi Sheep Breeding Pilot Farm in the Wadi Araba/Arava

The Awassi is the most numberous breed of sheep in the Middle East. It is highly adapted to harsh desert conditions and is relatively resistant to endemic diseases and zoo-parasites. It is characterized by a light fleece, a fat tail and prolific milk yield. Mature rams and ewes weigh about 70 and 40 kg and yield about 2.5 and 1.7 kg of wool respectively. Ewes may produce an average 0.9 lambs annually and 250 kg of milk.

This project will establish a nuclear breeding flock of improved Awassi sheep as developed in Israel and animal husbandry demonstration farm at the Wadi Fidan village, at an agricultural cooperative in southern Jordan. The pilot farm is intended to be a commercial enterprise, selling wool,processed sheep milk, as well as rams and ewes for breeding and meat. Without taking into account capital development, the sheep unit is expected to be economicly viable and self-sustaining by the termination of the project.

An initial flock of 200 ewes will be imported from the Ein Harod flock in Israel during the first year. It is anticipated that the flock of ewes will increase to approximately 1100 over 10 years. Technical assistance, farm/stock investment, plus a milk processing unit will be provided over three years. If the project proves successful, progeny from the flock will serve as the basis for subsequent upgrading of the national flock. Revenues will derive from the sale of lambs for breeding, meat, wool, milk and other by-products.

Infrastructure Requirements

The following facilities will have to be constructed: covered sheep sheds; uncovered holding pens; store for concentrates, veterinary supplies, spares, seeds, fertilisers and pestudies; overhead water tank, drinking troughs and plumbing; machinery repair shop; overhead fuel storage tank; wells and water supply lines to livestock area and fields for fodder production. In addition to structures, equipment for maintaining flock and producing fodder crops is necessary. It is estimated that equipment will comprise approximately 15% of the total project cost.

Milk and milk products will either have to be processed on site or chilled and stored at the farm for delivery by tanker to a processing plant. A sum of $141,000 is budgeted for a dairy processing unit, based on the cost of a similar unit installed in Uzbekistan by a joint US-Israel sponsored project.

Estimated Cost of the Project and Economic viability

Estimated project costs are given in the table below:

Project Costs for the Awassi Sheep Farm at Wadi Fidan
(in thousand US dollars)

Item

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Total

Management

186.5

66.6

66.6

319.7

Farm capital

271.8

0

0

271.8

Dairy unit

141.0

0

0

141.0

Operating costs

51.6

0

0

51.6

Contingency

65.1

6.6

6.6

78.3

Total

716.0

73.2

73.2

862.4

Source: Harza Group, Integrated Development of the Jordan Rift Valley: Prefeasibility Studies for Selected Projects, August 1997.

It is expected that the net present value of the project at a 10% discount rate will be $1.6 million.

7.2. Contract Production of Vegetables for Export in the Southern Ghors

a. Project Description

This project will involve technology transfer from Israel to establish an export packing plant and field team in the Southern Ghors region of Jordan. Objectives of the project are:

  • to improve the viability of small farm operations in the Ghor Esafi region of Jordan;
  • optimize resource management by small farmers;

The Southern Ghors is an isolated tract of largely flat land extending from the southern end of the Dead Sea in the north, to the foot of the escarpment in the east. It is flanked by the rise of the Wadi Araba to the south and with the international boundary to the west. The main features of the area are the Arab Potash Company industrial complex and the village of Safi. Rainfall in the area is negligible and annual evaporation is high. Land quality is basically good but salinity increases towards the Dead Sea zone. About 6,5000 hectares are currently developed, each with a piped water supply and drip irrigation system. There are some 2000 farms, 80% of which are occupied by the owner. Water supplied from Wadi Mujib could provide the basis for an additional 2000 hectares of new arable land.

The main component of this project is to establish a fruit and vegetable grading, packing, and cold store plant. The plant will handle 8,000 tons of fruit and vegetables in the second year, which constitutes 12% of the minimum priority opportunity offered Jordan under the Israeli-Jordanian Agricultural Agreement. It is estimated that one half of the output will be exported to Israel while the remainder will be for domestic consumption in Jordan.

With an assumed average yield of 20 tons produce per gross hectare of farmland, the plant would be capable of contracting from approximately as many as 300 farmers. These farmers will receive extension, procurement and credit assistance in order to grow the type, quality and quantity of produce required to meet the demand of the relevant markets. At the termination of the three year period, participating farmers will be invited to purchase equity holdings in the plant.

b. Project Management and Operations

The plant will be established and initially managed by an Israeli company on a three-year commercial contract, which will be reviewed annually by the Bilateral Coordinating Committee. Extension Officers will be responsible for scouting potential contact group farmers, negotiating pricing with the contracted farmers, and providing on-site technical assistance and arranging other extension services such as credit packages, agricultural input supply, and design consultancy services.

c. The Contract between the Farmer and the Plant

The plant will enter into a contract with the farmer to buy produce which meets the specifications at a guaranteed minimum price. The management of the plant will have the right to determine the type and variety of crop and specify technical requirements regarding the cultivation of the crop, including timing of planting and harvesting, cultivation techniques and location of the field. Required inputs will be made available to the farmers, who will be obligated to purchase them either from the project store or from other sources.

d. The Plant

Initially the plant will have a single conveyor belt with 6-8 ton/hour capacity, complete with the appropriate grading facilities. The handling capacity for the grading system will be at least 50 tons in a 10 day for an average throughput of 37 tons/day. The AMPCO plant at Safi is currently not in use and is ideally suited for this project.

A quick-chilling facility will need to be constructed. Export-grade produce will be put through the chilling unit to increase shelf-life. The capacity of this unit would need to be 30 tons/day to handle an average throughput of 20 tons/day. Cold storage facilities for 60 tons will be included in the plant.

e. Estimated Project Costs

The estimated scope of investment in this project comes to $2.8 million as summarized below:

Summary of Project Costs (in thousand US dollars)

Item

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Total

Revolving Fund Farm Credit

1,835

0

0

1,835

Development Grant to Contractor

361

258

0

619

Project Support Staff

146

92

72

310

Total

2,342

350

72

2,764

Source: Harza Group, Integrated Development of the Jordan Rift Valley: Prefeasibility Studies for Selected Projects, August 1997.

 
 
 Jordan Rift Valley- Agriculture and Aquaculture
 Jordan Rift Valley- Agriculture and Aquaculture
  7.3. Collaborative Research in Crop and Livestock Production

Israel and Jordan currently operate agricultural research programs, but little communication between the respective research teams exist, despite the fact that they are frequently studying the same problems. This project would establish collaborative research groups of Jordanian and Israeli scientists at four locations in Israel and Jordan for the following subjects:

Beit She’an in the Northern Jordan Valley in Israel – water use, cultivation, new crops, pests, plant tissue. The research team would consist of four Israeli and four Jordanian scientists.

Deir Alla at the Jordanian Ministry of Agricultures research station – as above plus algae and livestock. The research team would comprise five Israeli and five Jordanian scientists.

Karameh in Central JRV, Jordan – use of saline water and salt tolerant crops and trees. The research team would comprise three Jordanian and three Israeli scientists.

Ein Hazeva, Arava/Wadi Araba border area – same as above with a research team of three Jordanian and three Israeli scientists.

The emphasis will be placed on applied research in crop and livestock production. The project will provide research grants for materials, equipment and travel expenses. Some infrastructure development will be required for the Wadi Araba/Arava location.

The estimated cost of the project for two years of operation comes to approximately $1.1 million as outlined below:

Summary of Estimated Costs for Two-year Program (in thousand US dollars)

Item

Beit

Shean

Deir

Alla

 

Karameh

Ein

Hazeva

 

Total

Professional Staff

84

263

63

63

473

Recurrent costs

15

30

15

15

75

Capital Costs

55

280

35

55

425

Publications and extension

20

50

20

20

110

Total

174

623

133

153

1,083

Source: Harza Group, Integrated Development of the Jordan Rift Valley: Prefeasibility Studies for Selected

7.4. Joint Agricultural Training and Professional Exchange Programs

This joint training and exchange program aims at improving the effectiveness of extension officers, scientists and other agricultural personnel and at promoting understanding between colleagues in Israel and Jordan. This project envisages a program of general and specialized training courses and professional exchanges between Israeli and Jordanian agricultural experts.

The proposed program is for three years and includes the following components:

  1. Participation of 80 Jordanian professionals annually in training courses offered by the Center for International Cooperation Sharing Technologies (MASHAV) of Israels Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Subjects covered in these courses include: agrometerology, media communication systems in agriculture, water resource management, agricultural engineering, food technology, irrigation, wastewater reclamation, orchard production and management, arid zone production, hydrometerology, horticulture, and desert agrobiology.
  2. On-the-spot agricultural training in Jordan. These activities will also be organized by MASHAV . It is estimated that 12 courses will be organized with as many as 300 Jordanian participants. These courses are generally weeks in duration and can be expected to be less expensive than activities undertaken in Israel.
  3. Exchange programs between 10 Israeli and 10 Jordanian scientists annually.
  4. Commercial in-service training stemming from joint venture investment by the business community. As private sector initiated, this component is not included in the budget.

A prefeasibility study for this project has been completed. Estimated project costs are summarized in the table below:

Professional Agricultural Training & Exchange Program Project Costs (in thousand US dollars)

Item

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Total

MASHAV courses in Israel

240

264

290

794

Customized on spot courses in Jordan

150

165

182

497

Professional exchange

10

11

13

34

Total budget

400

440

485

1,325

Source: Harza Group, Integrated Development of the Jordan Rift Valley: Prefeasibility Studies for Selected Projects, August 1997.

7.5. Establishment of Demonstration Small-Scale Intensive Fish Farms

Establishment of demonstration farms will assist the development of Jordanian fish farming in the Jordan Valley and Southern Ghors region. This project involves the transfer from Israel of intensive fish farming technolocy. The proposed location for initial demonstration activities is the Wadi Yabis Agruculture Research Station. Collaboration with Israeli research establishments will help launch aquacultural production Jordan as one avenue towards diversifying the economy of the upper Jordan Valley.

Project duration will be five years. The demonstration facilities will include 14 training modules in covered 250 m3 tanks. Development will be phased. Five modules will be established at the Wadi Research Station during the first year and an additional 9 modules at three other locations will be established during years 2-4. Expected output from each module at the end of the five year period is estimated at 5 tonnes annually. Total output for the project comes to 211 tonnes. Effluent from the intensive fish farming units will be discharged into irrigation channels for reuse as enriched water in agriculture.

Training courses wold be provided at the units based on Israeli experience in intensive aquaculture. Collaboraton will involve technology, advisory services, and technical support from Israel.

Projected Costs and Benefits

Operation inputs for each fish tank includes: an initial supply of seed fish (on average 40,000 seed fish annually); imported feedstuffs (maximum 10 tonnes per unit); 9,125 m3 water annually, 17.5 GWh electricity annually. 0.2 hectare of land is necessary for the installation and operation of each unit.

Schedule of Project Costs for Intensive Aquaculture Project (in thousand U.S. dollars)

Cost Categories/ Items

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Total

Capital/Development:

Modular Tank Units

200

120

120

120

0

560

Recurrent Production:

Feedstuffs

8

18

33

47

53

159

Seed Fish

10

12

22

32

35

111

Water

0

1

2

2

2

7

Electricity

2

6

9

11

11

39

Other:

Wadi Yabbis Staff

25

25

25

25

25

125

Consultancy

30

15

15

15

15

90

Miscellaneous

28

21

23

25

13

110

Total

303

218

249

277

154

1,201

Source: Based on Harza Group, Integrated Development of the Jordan Rift Valley: Prefeasibility Studies for Selected Projects, August 1997.

Funding of approximately $350 thousand will be provided locally.

The primary target of the project is to encourage private sector investment in 500 units within the next few years. It is estimated that these modules will have an eventual annual output value of $7.5 million. Total investment requirements to meet parallel development of 500 units comes to $15 million. The anticipated value added in the Jordan Valley comes to $2.6 million annually at economic prices.