Government and Development Community Work to Prevent Hunger in Jordan
ACDI/VOCA and the Jordan National Centre for Research and Development (JNCRD) recently conducted a workshop to assess the nation’s food security situation. Government officials, academicians and representatives of the development community attended along with Jordan’s Prince Hassan Bin Talal, who provided insights into the importance of food security in Jordan.
“This is a vital topic. The workshop was one of the first on food security in Jordan, and it was embraced by the development community as well as the government,” said ACDI/VOCA’s Noubia Gribi, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa region.
Food Security in a Desert Country a Vital Topic
Jordan is characterized by a scarcity of land and water, and fragmentation of land holdings. According to the UNDP, agriculture contributes only about 3 percent of the GDP, and that percentage is in decline.
Even with farmer-oriented incentives and the best farming practices and technology, Jordan will need to continue importing grain. In addition, a subsistence-based model of food security, whereby households could at least meet their own cereal requirements, has limited potential.
To add to the challenge, Jordan continues to receive tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, and food security in the camps has become an issue. The World Food Program and other entities are currently helping to meet those needs.
UNDP is also on the scene and has asked ACDI/VOCA to help draft a food security strategy.
United Front in Preventing Hunger in Jordan
The workshop was a collaboration between JNCRD and ACDI/VOCA through its USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program, which has been active in Jordan since November 2009.
“What is remarkable is that the government and various international entities such as UNDP, IFAD and others have found unanimity in addressing the problem and are working diligently to launch the new food security program,” Gribi said.
New Mexico State Professor Helped Conduct Workshop
ACDI/VOCA volunteer, Dr. Jay Lillywhite, associate professor in the Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business Department at New Mexico State University, provided expert assistance through F2F. Lillywhite reviewed common definitions of food security, indicated the importance of measuring food security and discussed potential food security tools that could be adopted in Jordan.
Lillywhite recommended a tool based on the proven USDA household food security assessment protocol. At the workshop, comments and suggestions from the 18 participants were used to adapt the tool to Jordanian culture and language. Participants were then trained on its application.
Use of the tool to better understand the problem will lead to more appropriate interventions in such areas as grain procurement, storage and distribution; sustainable ways to improve yield; and increasing the value of smallholders’ production of fruit, vegetable and other crops to enable them to buy staples from the market.
Pictured at top left: Government officials, academicians, Jordan’s Prince Hassan Bin Talal and representatives of the development community attended a recent workshop to assess Jordan's national food security situation.