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Zero-interest loans totalling JD10m to be granted to farmers — Agricultural Credit Corporation

By Maram Kayed - Mar 30,2020 - Last updated at Mar 30,2020

Under a decision by the Agricultural Credit Corporation, loans valued at JD10 million with zero interest rates will be granted to farmers, with a grace period of five years to counter the effect of recent government measures to fight COVID-19 (JT file photo)

AMMAN —The Agricultural Credit Corporation has approved a decision to grant loans valued at JD10 million with zero interest rates to farmers, with a grace period of five years. Some within the sector praised the decision, while others said that the loans should be replaced with grants.

 

Minister of Agriculture Ibrahim Shahahdeh said in a statement on Monday that the loans “aim to support farmers affected by the measures taken by the government to confront the novel coronavirus such as the Defence Law and the nationwide curfew”.

 

Shahahdeh noted that the committees working to assess the harm inflicted on farmers are still drafting estimates of the damage, and therefore the loan mechanisms will be detailed after the committee finishes its procedures.

 

According to Vice President of the Jordanian Agricultural Engineers Nuhad Olaimi, the loans are “essential for the continuity of local production in all its stages”.

 

“At this time, the agricultural sector is under pressure to provide sufficient quantities to the local markets, and farmers, most of whom are already financially challenged, cannot meet that demand without fiscal support,” he said.

 

Olaimi praised the Ministry of Agriculture’s decision and said that, for the agricultural sector to supply either animal or plant products to markets requires “a chain of several operations that need fiscal support for production costs, labour wages, marketing procedures and pest control”.

 

“During these exceptional circumstances that we all live in, I believe that the government is doing the best it can to support the farmer, be that through loans or delayment of payments,” he added.

 

Olaimi further noted that the Jordanian agricultural sector “possesses the ability, through its technical expertise, to maintain the sustainability of production and ensure the provision of food security in the Kingdom by carrying on as one of the most productive sectors providing an economic and social safety net for Jordanian families”.

 

President of the Jordanian Farmers Association Mahmoud Oran, however, took a more critical stance regarding the loans.

 

“Farmers do not need more loans. Most of them cannot repay the ones they took five years ago. The sector does not need loans, it needs incentives, grants and support,” Oran told The Jordan Times over the phone.

“Just last year, over 23,000 farmers could not repay their debts, so how can they take on even more loans?” he said.

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