Terres et eaux

FAO and IFAD launch new project for knowledge exchange and policy dialogue on nutrition-sensitive agriculture water productivity in Jordan

Amman, May 24 2022 - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Jordan have launched a new project to identify potential entry points for knowledge exchange and policy dialogue, to orient program development optimizing water  resources to improve agriculture, and nutrition outcomes nationally. The inception workshop, held in hybrid mode with virtual and physical participants, brought together representatives involved in the agriculture, water and nutrition sectors from government, national research institutes and farmers’ organizations.

The project, "Increasing water productivity for nutrition-sensitive agriculture and improved food security and nutrition," is being implemented in six pilot countries: Benin, Niger, Mozambique, Rwanda, Egypt and Jordan. The project aims to work with between 600 and 1 000 smallholder farmers as well as 200 to 300 extension agents, field supervisors, decision-makers and technicians.

To promote knowledge and implementation of sustainable water and farming practices that improve livelihoods and nutrition outcomes, the project will work on methods for improving crop choices, water management strategies, and agricultural practices to maximize crop yield, nutrient density of harvested crops, and economic return with minimal water inputs. Ultimately, the project aims to provide farmers with technical knowledge necessary to achieve "more nutrients and better economic prospects per drop".

On behalf of HE Eng. Khaled Hnaifat, Minister of Agriculture, the Assistant Secretary-General for Livestock, Eng. Ali Abu Nukta said, “Jordan has had a good relationship with FAO and IFAD in working together to increase agriculture’s contribution to GDP, expand job opportunities, and empower women and youth to develop small enterprises to improve their livelihoods.”

FAO Representative in Jordan, Eng. Nabil Assaf, said, “As a custodian United Nations’ agency for food and agriculture, FAO has a critical role in addressing all forms of malnutrition by enabling healthy diets through a comprehensive food systems approach, which recognizes that access to adequate water is critical for food production and preparation. FAO’s holistic strategy facilitates collective actions across water, food security, and nutrition sectors.”

IFAD Country Director, Mr. Vrej Jijyan, stated, “This project is timely since it is completely in line with IFAD’s Country Strategy and complements IFAD’s ongoing projects, and also with the cooperation agenda with FAO."

“FAO supports more nutrient-dense crops per drop through value-added approaches in women’s empowerment, water and food productivity, and income generation.” Said Ms. Sasha Koo-Oshima, Deputy Director, FAO Land and Water Division.

“IFAD contributes to making the food systems better equipped to produce positive nutritional outcomes through its food-based approach to agricultural development that puts nutrient rich foods and dietary diversity at the heart of overcoming malnutrition and resilience of rural families,” said Ms Audrey Nepveu, Global Technical Specialist in IFAD.

“The project will catalyse partnerships that will help overcome barriers to sustainable smallholder farmers' access to remunerative markets by linking them to existent public procurement programmes, such as the home-grown school feeding programmes and other initiatives from the private sector in Jordan”. Said Mr. Paulo Dias, Project Manager, FAO Land and Water Division.

There is an urgent need to sustainably promote more nutritional-sensitive agricultural practices given the growing challenges to ensure equitable and reliable access to diverse diets and safe water for all. Currently, climate change is exacerbating land degradation, water scarcity, flooding, and rainfall unpredictably, which in turn undermine the productivity of smallholder farmers and contribute to rising rates of malnutrition. Water management, from the rains to the drains, will be critical for the achievement of global nutrition targets given the critical role of water in food production, preparation, and hygiene.