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Agriculture in Jordan

1

Agriculture in Jordan contributed substantially to the economy at the time of Jordan's independence, but it subsequently suffered a decades-long steady decline.

Jordan, officially The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab kingdom in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River.

Israel blocks Palestinian agricultural exports via Jordan by Al Jazeera English

2

In the early 1950s, agriculture constituted almost 40 percent of GNP; on the eve of the June 1967 War, it was 17 percent.

Gross national product is the market value of all the products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the citizens of a country.

Farming Without Water. Palestinian Agriculture in the Jordan Valley by EWASHPalestine

3

By the mid-1980s, agriculture's share of GNP in Jordan was only about 6 percent.

4

In contrast, in Syria and Egypt agriculture constituted more than 20 percent of GNP in the 1980s.

Syria, officially known as the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest.

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula.

5

Several factors contributed to this downward trend.

6

With the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Jordan lost prime farmland that Jordan had been running since 1949.

The West Bank is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, forming the bulk of the Palestinian territories.

7

Starting in the mid-1970s, Jordanian labor emigration also hastened the decline of agriculture.

8

Many Jordanian abandoned the land to take more lucrative jobs abroad.

9

Others migrated to cities where labor shortages had led to higher wages for manual workers.

10

Deserted farms were built over as urban areas expanded.

11

As the Jordanian government drove up interest rates to attract remittance income, farm credit tightened, which made it difficult for farmers to buy seed and fertilizer.

A fertilizer or fertiliser is any material of natural or synthetic origin that is applied to soils or to plant tissues to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants.

12

In striking contrast to Egypt and Iraq, where redistribution of land irrigated by the Nile and Euphrates rivers was a pivotal political, social, and economic issue, land tenure was never an important concern in Jordan.

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest, and Syria to the west.

The Nile is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa, and is commonly regarded as the longest river in the world, though some sources claim that the Amazon River is longer.

13

More than 150,000 foreign laborers—mainly Egyptians—worked in Jordan in 1988, most on farms.

14

Moreover, since the early 1960s, the government has continuously created irrigated farmland from what was previously arid desert, further reducing competition for arable land.

15

Ownership of rain-fed land was not subject to special restrictions.

16

Limited land reform occurred in the early 1960s when, as the government irrigated the Jordan River valley, it bought plots larger than twenty hectares, subdivided them, and resold them to former tenants in three-hectare to five-hectare plots.

The Jordan River is a 251-kilometre -long river in the Middle East that flows roughly north to south through the Sea of Galilee and on to the Dead Sea.

The hectare is a non-SI metric unit of area equal to a square with 100-metre sides, or 10,000 m2, and is primarily used in the measurement of land.

17

Because the land had not been very valuable before the government irrigated it, this process was accomplished with little controversy.

18

In general, the government has aimed to keep land in larger plots to encourage efficiency and mechanized farming.

19

The government made permanently indivisible the irrigated land that it granted or sold so as to nullify traditional Islamic inheritance laws that tended to fragment land.

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