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Reference Date: 10-October-2014

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Rate of inflation increased in 2013 as Government streamlined the fuel subsidy system but the increase is levelling off

  2. Influx of refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic puts strain on resources

Cereal import requirements to remain high

Sowing of the 2015 sorghum, for harvest in June/July next year, is about to start. Harvesting of spring wheat finished in June while that of potatoes and spring barley is ongoing. Jordan’s domestic cereal production is negligible owing to climatic and geographic conditions. Jordan received almost average cumulative moisture quantities in the past season 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. Nevertheless, rains were beneficial for natural pastures limiting the dependence on other sources of feed.

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 2013/14 (July/June) were forecast to increase slightly to 2.29 million tonnes, about 5 percent up on 2012/13.

Wheat imports are estimated at about 800 000 tonnes, about the same level as the last five-year average during which the policy change of higher strategic stocks was implemented. Following the price hikes of 2007/08, Jordan increased its strategic reserve of wheat from three to ten months in Jordan and on sea, equal to 450 000 tonnes in silos and 200 000 on sea and at the Aqaba port as a precaution against future increases in food prices.

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.

Inflation declined and stabilized in 2014

The year-on-year inflation during the first seven months of 2014 averaged at 3.1 percent. 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. As part of an IMF stand-by arrangement, the Government has agreed to introduce a number of structural reforms.

Despite the budget deficit, wheat bread remains fully subsidized with bread prices fixed at USD 0.22 per kg where bakeries are provided with subsidized flour.

Influx of refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic puts strain on resources

According to the UN Refugee Agency, as of early October 2014, about 620 000 registered Syrian refugees were within Jordan’s borders, mostly concentrated in Mafraq, Amman and Irbid Governorates. The WFP is assisting 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.





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