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Severe weather causes ‘over JD1 million’ in agricultural losses — farmers

By Hana Namrouqa - Oct 29,2018 - Last updated at Oct 29,2018

Strong winds tore through greenhouses in the northern and central parts of the Jordan Valley during last weekend’s depression. The Ministry of Agriculture said that a committee started on Sunday to evaluate the extent of damage (File photo)

AMMAN — Farmers in the Jordan Valley have reported losses worth well over JD1 million following last weekend’s extreme weather, the Jordan Valley Farmers Union said on Monday.

Dozens of farmers in the Jordan Valley’s northern, central and southern areas suffered losses in crops and infrastructure on Thursday because of strong winds that reached 100 kilometres per hour, according to Jordan Valley Farmers Union President Adnan Khaddam.

“Some 300 farmers were affected by the extreme weather on Thursday. The very strong winds damaged citrus trees, greenhouses and banana farms. The financial losses are huge and [worth] well over JD1 million,” Khaddam told The Jordan Times.

The strong winds tore through greenhouses in the northern and central parts of the Jordan Valley, while citrus trees lost their fruits, according to Khaddam, who noted that banana farms in the south of the Jordan Valley were destroyed.

“In the southern Jordan Valley near Kafrain area, three banana farms suffered huge losses, while one of them was completely destroyed. The winds were so strong they actually uprooted three-metre-tall banana trees. The farmers lost the trees and lost the fruit,” Khaddam noted.

The farmers’ representative urged the government to support the stricken farmers and compensate them for their losses.

The Ministry of Agriculture said that a committee was started on Sunday to evaluate the extent of damage, which farmers reported, in order to decide on any compensation.

“The team is visiting the affected farms and documenting the extent of damage and the type of damaged fruit. The results should come out in two or three days,” an official at the ministry said.

A depression and a relatively cold air mass affected the country on Thursday. The combined weather condition brought strong winds and heavy rain which caused mudslides, road closures and flashfloods that swept the Dead Sea area, resulting in the deaths of 21 people, mostly students on a school trip, and the injury of 43 people.

In June last year, the Agricultural Risk Fund (ARF) compensated farmers whose crops were damaged in frost spells during the 2016/2017 winter, drawing upon JD1.2 million out of the JD1.4 million allocated by the government for 2017 compensations. 

The ARF said at the time that it had plans to train farmers on agricultural risk management.

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