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Economy, agriculture and food security
GDP was US$15.8 billion in 2007. Agriculture accounted for 3 percent of GDP, compared with 6 percent in 1992.
The total population economically active in agriculture is estimated at 194 000 inhabitants, amounting to 9.8 percent of the economically active population in 2005, of which 70 percent is female and 30 percent is male. In JRV around 350 000 people are the main beneficiaries of irrigated agriculture and women form an important component of the labour force. Foreign labour, mainly from Egypt, is common in irrigated agriculture in Jordan.
Irrigated agriculture covered around 33 percent of the cultivated area in 2004. Permanent crops represent 56 percent of harvested irrigated area and 78 percent of the harvested rainfed area. They consist of citrus, bananas, olives and vineyards. The main annual crops are vegetables, potatoes and cereals (wheat and barley). Besides the climate (drought, fluctuating rainfall and hot winds) the main difficulties for rainfed agriculture are the fragmentation of farm holdings and the erosion of top soils in the steep slopes, while the constraints for irrigated agriculture are the limited available water resources, overexploitation of groundwater, wastewater used in irrigation, silting of dams, and agricultural production marketing problems.
In 2004, total agricultural production reached 2.13 million tons, of which 69 percent were vegetables, 29.5 percent fruits from fruit trees and 1.5 percent field crops (cereals), which are consumed locally and exported to the markets of neighbouring countries. In spite of the low contribution of agriculture to GDP, both rainfed and irrigated agriculture are vital socioeconomic activities in the country. They are the source of fresh vegetables all year round, they play an important role in the national economy and they provide demographic stability in the rural communities and in the JRV region.
In general, the agricultural sector is subjected to strong competition from other sectors and receives few national or international investments in comparison with other economic activities.