U.S. Embassy Promotes Hydroponic Practices in Jordan

May 9, 2015

In 2013,
ECO Consult
(Jordan) received a Powering Agriculture award for the
Early Adoption/Distribution (Stage 4) of
Solar Photovoltaic
solutions for
Irrigation
in the production of
Horticulture
in
Jordan

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Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development supports the development and deployment of clean energy innovations that increase agriculture productivity and stimulate low carbon economic growth in the agriculture sector of developing countries to help end extreme poverty and extreme hunger.

Amman, Jordan—U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Alice Wells showcased locally-grown hydroponic and organic vegetables during a May 9 reception with Jordanian producers and government officials in honor of the visit to Jordan by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack. The event, which featured seasonal vegetables from local farms, welcomed a number of prominent chefs from hotels and culinary institutes in Amman who are keen to source a reliable supply of these high quality products.

U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Alice Wells and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Alice Wells introduces Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to American and Jordanian Dignitaries at a reception held at the Ambassadors Residence in Amman, Jordon on May 9, 2015. Photo: USDA

The U.S. government, through USAID's Hydroponic Green Farming Initiative (HGFI), has played a key role in promoting this innovative agricultural method, which enables Jordanian farmers to grow higher-value crops while using significantly less water. It is estimated that hydroponic techniques use 50 - 75 percent less water than crops grown in the traditional field. Under this program, crops are grown in a closed, recirculating nutrient solution instead of with drip irrigation into soil, so fewer fertilizers and pesticides are used as well. Hydroponic techniques also help eliminate soil-borne diseases and reduce the rate of vegetable spoilage.

“The future of hydroponic farming techniques is bright in Jordan”

“The future of hydroponic farming techniques is bright in Jordan,” Ambassador Wells said. “Hydroponic farming techniques are well-suited toward maximizing Jordan's scarce supply of water. From my visits to hydroponic farms in the Jordan Valley, I’ve seen that the potential to grow more produce through hydroponic techniques is significant, given the minimal additional investment required to implement them.”

Building reliable markets for hydroponically-grown produce is equally important. The USAID program is designed to build greater awareness of the advantages of hydroponically-grown produce, and the chefs in attendance at the reception were able to experience first-hand the quality of produce from hydroponic fields. Developing strong domestic markets for produce will assist farmers in balancing the cyclical nature of produce grown for export.

“Our thyme production from hydroponic farming is far better than traditional soil farming.”

Um Ali, who heads a women’s cooperative in the north of the country said, “Our thyme production from hydroponic farming is far better than traditional soil farming. It uses much less water, which is scarce in Jordan. Our production is clean from soil diseases.”

The Hydroponic Green Farming Initiative is funded by USAID’s Office of Water Resources and Environment and implemented by ECO Consult. The project demonstrates hydroponic systems that are easy to adapt to Jordanian conditions that both use less water compared to conventional systems of production and bring higher yields and profit.

Related News & Events: 
Aug. 5, 2016

USAID’s first Global Water Coordinator recently visited several USAID-supported project sites in the Middle East. His trip included a stop at one of ECO Consult’s hydroponic greenhouses. This water-saving technology reduces water usage by up to 40% and significantly increases crop yields.

Jun. 5, 2016

Hydroponic agriculture—growing crops without soil—can be traced back to ancient times. In the Middle East, local agriculture cannot provide enough food due to shortages of water and arable land. Jordan sees potential in hydroponics, using up to 90 percent less water than conventional agriculture.

May. 9, 2015

U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Alice Wells showcased locally-grown hydroponic and organic vegetables during a May 9 reception with Jordanian producers and government officials in honor of the visit to Jordan by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack.