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Reference Date: 09-April-2015


  1. Cropping season progressing well

  2. Cereal import requirements to remain high

  3. Rate of inflation stabilized

  4. Refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic put strain on resources

2015/16 cropping season progressing well

Sowing of the 2015 spring wheat and potatoes, for harvest from June onwards, concluded in early March while planting of spring barley is scheduled to start in May. Cumulative precipitation by the second dekad of March 2015 in all provinces, with the exception of Al Mafraq governorate, exceeds the long-term average (1989-2012). Vegetation conditions, as captured by the satellite based Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), suggest good establishment of winter crops. While slightly below the long-term average, cumulative precipitation in Al Mafraq province was more than double that of 2014. The area produces some 10 percent of the country’s cereal production and supplies a large share of fruits and vegetables. Wetter-than-usual winter also benefits sheep and goat herders by providing adequate pasture conditions and limiting the dependence on other sources of feed, such as subsidised imported barley.

Jordan’s domestic cereal production is negligible owing primarily to climatic and geographic conditions. About average 2015 cereal production is expected at this point. In 2014, Jordan received almost average cumulative moisture quantities but their poor distribution resulted in a below-average cereal harvest. Thus, aggregate output of spring wheat and barley, estimated at 50 000 tonnes, is 30 percent lower than in 2013, and about 4 percent above the five-year average.

Cereal import requirements to remain high

Even in years with above-average domestic production, over 97 percent of domestic cereal food and feed requirements are satisfied through imports. Cereal import requirements in 2014/15 (July/June) are forecast to increase slightly to 2.4 million tonnes, about 5 percent up on 2013/14.

Wheat imports are estimated at about 925 000 tonnes, about 20 percent higher than the last five-year average. The increase is due to increasing population and continuing presence of registered refugees which now, according to UNHCR, represent about 10 percent of the population. The Government continues to maintain strategic stocks planned at ten months of consumption, 500 000 in storage silos and 200 000 on sea and at port.

In the same period, imports of barley (for feed) are expected to go up by about 10 percent, compared to the average, to 780 000 tonnes to match the increasing demand. Subsidized barley is distributed to herders according to actual number of tagged sheep and goats. An average level of about half a million tonnes of imported maize is also forecast for animal feed, mostly poultry and cattle. Rice imports are forecast to remain stable, at about 170 000 tonnes.

Elsewhere, Jordan’s fruit and vegetable sector exports in the first ten months of 2014 increased by 12 percent compared to last year. The sector benefited from the Russian import ban on EU agricultural products. Negotiations between Russia and Jordan concluded in November 2014 reduced import duties on produce by 25 percent in summer and complete elimination of duties during the winter months.

Inflation declined and stabilized

In January 2015 The Department of Statistics changed the base year from 2006 to 2010. Using the new baseline, general inflation rate for the first two months of 2015 decreased by 0.8 percent yearly continuing the trend established in 2014. The year-on-year inflation in 2014 ranged from 3.73 percent in May to 1.14 percent in December. This compares with the average total inflation in 2013 that reached 5.6 percent following the gradual removal of fuel subsidies that put upward pressure on prices.

Cereal inflation remains low. Despite the budget deficit, wheat bread remains fully subsidized. The Government sells wheat flour at 225 USD/tonne to the bakeries, with market prices nearing 500 USD/tonne. Food inflation is driven by prices of seasonal products, such as vegetables, which are set freely.

Refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic put strain on resources

According to the UN Refugee Agency, as of late March 2015, about 627 000 registered Syrian refugees were within Jordan’s borders, mostly concentrated in Mafraq, Amman and Irbid governorates. Only 4 percent of those refugees arrived in 2014. The WFP is improving targeting of its programs and assisting the most vulnerable refugees through food vouchers in most of the country and through the provision of in-kind food distributions in the Zaatari refugee camp and some of the transit centres hosting refugees.

Relevant links:
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
 Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) Reports & Special Alerts: 1999
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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