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‘Agricultural exports drop by 7.5% in first eight months of 2015’

By Hana Namrouqa - Sep 05,2015 - Last updated at Sep 05,2015

AMMAN — Exports of agricultural produce dropped by 7.5 per cent during the first eight months of this year compared to the same period in 2014, government officials said on Saturday.

The Kingdom exported 580,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables until early September, compared with 626,000 tonnes in the same period last year, Agriculture Minister Akef Zu’bi said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.

Ministry Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin said the gap between this year’s and last year’s exports has been diminishing over the past four months as the Kingdom’s exports to the Gulf countries, particularly summer fruits, increased.

“In April, exports dropped by 27 per cent compared to the same month in 2014. The fact that the drop now stands at 7.5 per cent is a good sign that our exports of fruits and vegetables are recovering,” Haddadin told The Jordan Times over the phone.

Ministry figures indicate that exports of produce increased by 3.5 per cent during August compared to the same month last year.

Jordan exported 88,000 tonnes of agricultural produce during August, while during the same month last year, the country exported 84,7000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables, according to the ministry’s statement.

Haddadin noted that the majority of fruits and vegetables were exported to Gulf countries, which imported over 86,100 tonnes.

In light of the ongoing unrest in Syria, Jordan became one of the main suppliers of fruits and vegetables to Gulf Arab states, which now import 70-80 per cent of their produce needs from Jordan, according to the ministry.

The fact that Jordan’s border with Syria has been closed since April, in addition to the closure of the border with Iraq during most of the first four months of 2015, caused a drop in agricultural exports, according to the ministry.

Jordan closed the Jaber border crossing with Syria in April for security reasons. Ramtha, the other border crossing with Syria, has been closed for nearly four years, except for humanitarian assistance to the war-torn country.

 

Haddadin said that despite the border closure with Syria, exports of fruits and vegetables are expected to be equal to the amount exported last year, which reached 888,000 tonnes.

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