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.
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.
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.
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.
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.