FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Italy and FAO launch project to increase resilience of vulnerable communities in Southern Jordan

Amman, Jordan – The Government of Italy and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), launched today a project to increase the resilience of the Jordanian vulnerable communities throughthe “Sustainable Production and Utilization of Agro-natural Resources (SPUAR)” initiative, funded by Italy through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).

In line with the agreement signed by the parties, FAO conducted an inception workshop to acquaint stakeholders and programme partners with the scope and outlines of the project, in addition to covering the implementation strategy and work plan.

As Ambassador Pezzotti highlighted, “Italy and FAO are joining efforts to counteract the impact of land degradation, drought and desertification in Jordan, through sustainable natural resource management. Land degradation poses a serious challenge to sustainable development, and identifying critical knowledge gaps, opportunities of land productivity and strategies to increase land users’ perception of sustainability is pivotal to foster economic, social, and environmental changes”.

The workshop was held under the patronage of his Excellency Eng. Khaled Al-Huneifat, Minister of Agriculture in the presence of H.E Mr. Luciano Pezzotti, Italian Ambassador to Jordan, Mr. Emilio Cabasino, the Director of Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) Amman, as well as Eng. Nabil Assaf, FAO Representative in Jordan and attended by a group of selected stakeholders and government partners.

The scarcity of water resources is one of the main challenges for Jordan and a limiting factor for economic development, especially for the agriculture sector. The demand on water resources is increasing with time for both agriculture and non-agricultural purposes, as the agricultural sector consumes around 510 million cubic meters (51%) of the annual available fresh water.

H.E the Minister of Agriculture, Eng. Khaled Al-Huneifat explained that “the challenges facing food security in the Kingdom, the most important of which are conflicts in the region, put pressure on Jordan’s natural resources, in addition to climate change, where the rainfall percentage in the southern regions did not exceed 25% last year, and this year it did not exceed 33%, and we, in Jordan count on our friends to strengthen the resilience of Jordanians, as this project will positively impact Ma'an responding to its needs .”

FAO Representative, Eng Nabil Assaf stated that, “This project is aligned with FAO and the Government of Jordan’s Country Programing Framework (CPF)’s priority 2: Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources Management and priority 3: Resilience of rural and peri-urban livelihood. Hence, under this program, FAO will improve irrigation water use efficiency and productivity, strengthen the capacities of stakeholders in adopting the upscaling, and improve community- based natural resource management technologies and practices, including the supply of relevant climate smart technological inputs that enhance agricultural productivity and competitiveness of crops and livestock production. In the process, FAO will focus on crosscutting issues such as gender and climate change.”

This project comes in recognition of the importance to support the agriculture sector and sustainable management of natural resources. It targets vulnerable communities and their access to socio-economic infrastructures in the governorate of Ma’an, which is the largest in Jordan and, according to the poverty report issued by the Jordanian Department of Statistics, one of the poorest, with a poverty ratio of 27%.

“This initiative is particularly interesting in view of for the priorities of the Italian cooperation on sustainable development linked to agriculture and livelihood opportunities,” said Mr Cabasino, AICS Amman Director. “It is our aim that the responsible use of agro-natural resources (land, water, vegetation) in the Governorate of Ma'an will support the economic revitalization of the rural communities in this area”.

The SPUAR initiative aims at establishing a sustainable enterprise using the agro-natural resources (land, water, vegetation) available in the targeted governorate. Within the coming two-years, the project aims at targeting a total of 120 households (660 persons), including female headed households, youth and people with disabilities, with actions that include rooftop water harvesting systems and provision of food processing equipment, as well as a capacity building programme to equip beneficiaries with the necessary skills to maximize the use of agro-natural resources and enhance their livelihood.

In addition to improved food security and income-generation opportunities, the project will result in soil and water conservation through their sustainable management, and will ultimately contribute to empower local rural communities.


12/05/2022