Nov 15,2019

AMMAN — The World Food Programme’s (WFP) “H2Grow” project, a soil-less hydroponics technique that that was implemented in Azraq and is now attracting global attention, was presented this week at the second annual Paris Peace Forum, according to the WFP.

The peace forum, which was held from November 11 to 13, brought together world leaders, international organisations, NGOs, companies, universities and many others to focus on collective solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges, including climate change, migration, economic inequality and conflict, a WFP statement said.

The WFP’s H2Grow project, one of 100 projects selected from around the world, was showcased at the summit as an example of a “concrete solution” to some of these challenges, according to the statement.

Jordan is one of seven countries where the WFP has introduced H2Grow, piloting a successful new cultivation method that is helping smallholder farmers to grow fresh, green animal fodder in the dry desert of Azraq, the statement said, adding that with some basic equipment and training provided by the project, smallholders can produce fresh green barley for their animals within around seven days throughout the year.

“It allows us to grow food in impossible places, especially in dry areas or places affected by climate change. The simplified hydroponics technique requires only seeds and minimal water. Its strength is that it is so low-tech,” WFP Policy Officer in Jordan Lama Almajali was quoted in the statement as saying.

Nihaya Hussein, a widow and mother of three who lives in Azraq, said about feeding her livestock with hydroponics-grown fodder: “They have increased milk production as a first, and the quality of the meat is also improved. The hydroponics unit doesn’t take up much space and also saves us a lot of water.”

The method has afforded her benefits beyond simply improving the health of her animals. “I was at a place where no one supported me. But through this hydroponics system, now my family can depend on me,” Hussein said, according to the statement.

The H2Grow project builds on WFP’s experience at the Sahrawi refugee camp in Algeria, where difficult environmental conditions inspired the idea of creating a low-tech hydroponics system using cheap and locally-available materials, the statement said, adding that “great potential” remains for further expansion both in Jordan and internationally.

Speaking from Paris as the peace forum wrapped up, WFP’s Almajali said: “It’s been very inspiring to share our knowledge with such a wide range of people. It’s exciting to consider how our experience and learning in Jordan could potentially help many other people living in challenging conditions all over the world,” the statement concluded.