By Raed Omari

AMMAN – The outlook for the Kingdom’s agriculture sector is stable, according to farmers and experts, who expressed hope that January and February will bring sufficient rain so farms can meet market needs.

Musa Mashatleh, a farmer and agriculture expert in the northern Jordan Valley, said vegetable crops in the area have largely recovered after suffering from pests and a delay in rainfall.

“Having received good amounts of rain recently, vegetable farms in the northern Jordan Valley have improved significantly,” he said, adding that farms are expected to be able to meet the domestic market’s needs of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, beans and cabbage this spring.

Mashatleh added that farmers are pinning their hopes on more rainfall ahead of the second vegetable harvest season, which starts in late February.

However, if it fails to rain in the next six weeks, vegetables in the Kingdom may witness “significant price hikes in March”, he warned.

According to Jordanian Farmers Union (JFU) President Ahmad Faour, inspection visits to vegetable farms in the Jordan Valley this month showed that crops were “generally fine”.

Emphasising that recent rainfall contributed to their recovery, Faour noted that “so far, no damages have been reported as a result of frost or pests”.

He indicated that the JFU is working in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Jordan Meteorological Department to alert farmers ahead of freezing temperatures so that they can take the necessary procedures to protect their crops.

Describing rainfall levels as “low” compared to previous years and the country’s dams storage levels as “not promising”, the JFU president pointed out that some wet weather in the next two months will be enough to ensure enough vegetables reach citizens’ dining tables.