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Union says gov’t should support farmers to manage frost spells

By Hana Namrouqa - Sep 25,2016 - Last updated at Sep 25,2016

AMMAN — The government should provide farmers with early-warning frost detection systems instead of advising against planting crops that are vulnerable to cold weather, the Jordan Farmers Union (JFU) said on Sunday.

The Agriculture Ministry had urged farmers to cultivate vegetables that can survive freezing temperatures, ahead of orweh teshriniyeh, the local name for the winter planting season.

JFU President Mahmoud Oran described the ministry’s advice as “illogical and irresponsible”. 

“Most vegetables are prone to damage during frost spells… telling farmers not to plant vegetables that are vulnerable to the cold weather will affect consumers because prices will go up,” Oran told The Jordan Times.

Cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini are among the crops that can be damaged by frost, he said, noting that the vegetables are staples of the Jordanian diet. 

In late August, the ministry advised farmers to plant crops like lettuce, cauliflower, cabbage and carrots, which could withstand frost spells and temperatures around 0oC during marbaniyeh, the local name for the 40 coldest days of winter.

Usually, farmers in the Jordan Valley and other areas cultivate a variety of vegetables including cucumbers, tomatoes, aubergines and zucchini during winter.

By advising farmers to delay planting certain crops, the ministry is “evading” its responsibility to support farmers in the aftermath of frost spells, the union leader charged. 

In earlier remarks to The Jordan Times, the ministry said it advised farmers to delay cultivating some crops in order to minimise losses and mitigate the impact of climate change. 

 

“The changing climate is among the main challenges facing the agriculture sector; therefore, farmers are requested to deal with its impact because it is a reality,” said Ministry Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin.

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