A Hydroponic Green Farming Initiative

Innovator (Country of Incorporation): 
Jordan
Collaborators: 
El Wir Farm in Zarqa River and one large farm in the Highlands. The community households cluster will be identified during the feasibility study.
Location Applied: 
Clean Energy Source: 
Agricultural Focus: 
Product Segment: 
Year of Award: 
Financing Status: 
Organization: 

Established in Jordan in 1995, ECO Consult is a leading development firm with more than 15 years of experience working in Jordan and the Middle East. Past work includes projects in public sector reform, private sector development, local governance and development zones, energy, water, and environment.

Problem/Opportunity: 

Jordan is considered to be one of the ten most water-scarce countries in the world. As water becomes scarcer, its availability for agriculture is expected to decrease. Hydroponic technology, an intensive form of agriculture, uses much less water than conventional farming and offers an excellent opportunity for farmers to increase their income while reducing their water use. Although farmers have expressed their interest in this new technology, its application in Jordan is still limited.

Clean Energy Solution: 

ECO Consult has developed an integrated model of hydroponic and photovoltaic farming to compete with conventional greenhouse technology and drip irrigation systems. To make the technology attractive to large-scale commercial farms, ECO Consult will retrofit a multi-span greenhouse with advanced hydroponic technologies and photovoltaic panels to generate enough power to operate the lighting, pumping, and air moderation systems.

Impact: 

ECO Consult works with small household farms, as well as large commercial farms, to educate them and help them adopt basic hydroponic systems to allow them to produce high quality vegetables and maximize their economic return per cubic meter of water, while saving large volumes of water. Through the establishment of 10 demonstration sites, ECO Consult shows farmers how to start and manage these farming systems. As more farms adopt these new technologies at a small scale, rural households will realize additional sources of income and new employment opportunities, including women and youth.

Progress Update: 

By the end of the Powering Agriculture Award in June 2017, ECO Consult had established the first community of practice/network for hydroponic farming in Jordan by focusing on expanding the knowledge and use of hydroponics by Jordanian farmers, private companies and suppliers. They reached more than 530 people through 19 field days, which provided attendees with hands-on training and a peer-to-peer educational experience, and trained more than 200 people through a series of 7 workshops. ECO Consult also established 22 demonstration sites—nearly quadrupling the target of six sites—with the majority of them located at households or community-based organizations. ECO Consult established a partnership with Wageningen University (WUR) in the Netherlands which included technical assistance from WUR, capacity building and 'train the trainers' sessions held in the Netherlands and in Jordan. The activities completed under the program have increased the visibility and awareness of hydroponic farming throughout Jordan; established a strong network of farmers, universities, government agencies, and international donors; and created an environment in which adoption of hydroponic farming should continue to expand.

ECO Consult will implement a second project that will target large farms with high-value crops for export markets and involve the Dutch private sector. The Dutch companies will provide hydroponic equipment and technical support (system monitoring and operation) for 2 to 3 years.

Project News: 
Mar. 21, 2018

Powering Agriculture Innovator ECO Consult's successful partnership with Wageningen University in the Netherlands was part of the conversation at a recent luncheon hosted by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte for Jordan's King Abdullah and Queen Rania Al Abdullah.

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. 6, 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.