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PM pledges to address grievances of Jordan Valley farmers
Amman, Apr 13 (Petra) – Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour agreed during a meeting today with the president and members of the Jordan Valley Farmers Union on a set of "immediate" measures to support agriculture and find solutions to challenges facing the sector.

The meeting, attended by Minister of Water and Irrigation Hazem Al Nasser, representatives of the agricultural sector and several MPs, was called by the Watan (homeland) political party which met with farmers recently.

Among a host of demands aired by farmers were: Opening agriculture to foreign labour "for short periods until the regulation of the sector", rescheduling Agriculture Credit Corporation loans, compensating farmers for damage incurred by a recent flooding of the Jordan River, maintaining a subsidy on animal fodder, exempting agriculture from an impending raise of energy prices and finding new markets to farm produce.

The premier asked the irrigation minister and the minister of agriculture to discuss with the labour minister the prospect of opening the door for foreign labour to join the agriculture sector for a limited period of time.

He said that in the event the government decided to hike electricity tariffs, it would take into account the prices of power for water wells used for agriculture and also promised to keep the fodder subsidy, study a rescheduling of farmers' loans and examine a report by an ad hoc committee on damage caused by the flooding of farmland during the winter. Ensour reviewed his government's efforts with Arab and world countries to solve the marketing problem and open new markets to Jordanian farm produce, noting that those contacts culminated in opening the Iraqi market to Jordanian products. He also said the government is seeking to market farm products in the United Arab Emirates and Russia.

Al Nasser said agricultural exports totaled JD864 million in 2012, an output which underlined the importance of the sector's contribution to the national economy.

13/4/2013 - 06:50:03 PM

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