Sustainable Agriculture: Perspectives for Jordan Valley

Sustainable agriculture development is one of the most important pillars of the EcoPeace Middle East’s Jordan Valley Master Plan as it provides livelihood and prosperity for all the people in the valley. The strategic agricultural objective for the study area is improving water use and irrigation efficiencies and economic outputs per unit of water used, and meanwhile stabilize, or even reduce the total water demands for the agricultural sector in the Jordan Valley. This will require adequate tariff policies on water used for irrigation, including enforcement, to stimulate more efficient use of water through for instance greenhouse drip irrigation. These are challenges specifically relevant for Jordan and Palestine.

Greenhouses are a very effective manner to improve water efficiencies and economic outputs in the agricultural sector, using greenhouses reduce the production related risks, provide for better quality crops and provide wider options for crop diversification. Finally, evapotranspiration from greenhouses is substantially less than from open field agriculture (and it does not cause soil salinity). However, greenhouses decrease open spaces, with negative visual impacts to rural landscapes and to wildlife corridors. Hence greenhouse development needs to be carefully planned and many farmers would require adequate and reliable micro-credits in order to invest in greenhouses.

Drip irrigation is another effective manner to improve water efficiencies in the open fields. The challenge is to set up sustainable drip irrigation systems in the Jordan Valley, including appropriate operations and maintenance and monitoring systems. This requires also financial facilities for farmers to invest, standardization of designs and manufacturing and provision of technical support services.

A related challenge is to maximize the reuse of treated wastewater, efficient use of pesticides and fertilizers, introduction or expansion of growing high yield crops, and improving extension services and post harvesting support to the farmers to enable them to create higher economic returns.

Pollution and mismanagement has severely damaged the Jordan River

Another major challenge is to address the negative environmental impacts associated with the fish farms. These farms consume substantial amounts of water, due to high evaporation rates, which may be as much as 1-2 meter of water per year. In addition the ponds are flushed once or twice per year, releasing water into the Jordan River, which is polluted with excrements from the fishes, and anti-biotic medications that have to be added to the fish ponds. Due to the evaporation, the effluent is usually brackish as well. Consequently, discharging this wastewater into the environment has substantial impacts to surface water and groundwater quality.

Mitigating these impacts require investments in wastewater treatment facilities, and converting the process to a closed system. Without resolving these issues the future of this industry in the valley must be in doubt, despite any ecological benefits that the fish farms present for bird migration and associated tourism related to bird watching. The master plan sees the need to ensure that those communities relying currently on the fish ponds as their main source of income enjoy stability and that they be supported in the effort to move to closed systems.

A related challenge will be to strengthen the Extension Services for the farmers in the Jordan Valley. These services might be provided through the existing water user associations. In terms of rural economics, an important challenge is to improve the post-harvesting and marketing potentials of the farmers in the Jordan Valley, including setting up product organizations, better information about markets (nationally and internationally) and related product requirements and creating better access to export markets, with particular focus on eco-friendly and sustainable production techniques, regional labeling and fair-trade related markets.

Note: This is the third article in our special series on ‘Regional Integrated NGO Master Plan for the Jordan Valley.

About EcoPeace Middle East

EcoPeace Middle East is a unique organization that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists. Our primary objective is the promotion of cooperative efforts to protect our shared environmental heritage. In so doing, we seek to advance both sustainable regional development and the creation of necessary conditions for lasting peace in our region. EcoPeace has offices in Amman, Bethlehem, and Tel-Aviv. EcoPeace is a project oriented NGO, using both a “top-down” (advocacy) approach coupled with a “bottom-up” (grass roots / community) strategy that has proven to be a very effective work model.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sustainable Agriculture: Perspectives for Jordan Valley

  1. michel friedman says:

    Use of NMR and RSS exploration for water research for humans or agriculture

    Hello
    The technology implemented (RSS then NMR) will be able to detect and remotely assess the accumulation and flow of groundwater anywhere on Earth up to a depth of 5 km directly. In an era of deep recession in the global industry and downsizing, only NMR technology will allow companies to maintain their exploration and prospecting programs planned for 2020 at a nominal price. (NMR technology allows the acquisition of absolute field data with an efficiency 2.5 to 3.0 times higher than indirect seismic data and at a price ten times lower than 2D / 3D seismic data). And above all, we operate remotely, over very large areas and in record time (30 days per 100,000 km2)

    We will search for remote water supplies and flows with great precision all over the world:
    – identifying and highlighting reservoirs and flows of underground freshwater, of the magma type, lakes, rivers or ebb
    – map the contours of reservoirs or rivers;
    – obtain the number of horizons and the depth of their occurrence;
    – determination of the thickness of aquifers and reservoir rocks,
    – Determination of promising drilling points.

    NMR technology is based on the phenomenon of resonance, which allows the direct detection and bypass of accumulations and flows, like MRI in medicine, which allows to see the problems of the human body at the same time. RSS then NMR costs are insignificant in comparison with reflective or refractive techniques. Reflexive or refractive are not very precise since we are looking for an anomaly but very expensive staff and equipment to move. Depending on the surface we are around 30 us $ per km2 (thirty dollars per square kilometer or 100 hectares for stade 1 & 2)

    Quotation only for the RSS stage (stage 1): Diagnostic substage from 1 to 4 dollars per 1 sq.km, for large superficies and depending of the area (minimum 100.000 km2)
    Detailed survey of the area (accumulations) with the revealed underground water flow from 10,000 to 15000 sq.km.
    Result (fresh water):
    – the identification and contouring of accumulations and flows of underground fresh water,
    – mapping the contours;
    – obtaining the number of horizons and the depth of their occurrence;
    – determining thickness aquifers and reservoir rocks,
    Determination of promising drilling points.
    It must be clear for the user that NMR technology discover groundwater aquifers and accumulations directly to a depth of 1-3 km and deeper, which no technology can detect. More technical information at https://fr.slideshare.net/mlf10357/use-of-innovante-technology-for-support-underground-water-discovery-by-exploration-using-of-rss-nmr-231689773
    Our other technical publications https://fr.slideshare.net/mlf10357
    Thanks, Merci, Gracias
    Michel Friedman (DESTOM chartered LH67/11)
    ————————Contacts—————————————-
    QHSE exploration and seismic Manager qualified SSU – SSL – FSOMS
    Mobile +591-716-96657 (WhatsApp)
    VoIP: + 1-786-352-8843 (free landline as VoIP from any Bouygues, Vodaphone, free, sfr box)
    Skype mlf10357
    Teléfono Bolivia: +591-3-3330971
    Alternate to michel.friedman@fands-llc.biz are
    mlf10357@yahoo.com, mlf10357@gmail.com
    Publications RSS and NMR exploration for water, oil and gas and strategic minerals
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelfriedmanhse/detail/recent-activity/posts/
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7ZVnzs0QzAqN5OEXcq-vuFRJYNwMKjaj
    https://fr.slideshare.net/mlf10357
    https://issuu.com/mlfriedman
    Fands-llc © 2005-2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.