'Ministry efforts behind increase in agricultural exports'

(MENAFN- Jordan Times) AMMAN — The increase in Jordanian exports is due to the products' safety and quality, and the marketing efforts of stakeholders, officials have said.

Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday said that Jordan's exports of vegetables and fruits in July increased by 18 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The increase in exports, which stood at 84,000 tonnes in July, came as a result of the ministry's efforts, in cooperation with the private sector, to facilitate export procedures and expand to new markets, Salah Tarawneh, the Agriculture Ministry's assistant secretary general for marketing, told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

Jordanian produce is exported to around 44 countries around the world, Tarawneh said, noting that the largest importers are the Gulf countries, which receive 90 per cent of the Kingdom's exports.

Kuwait is a primary importer, as it functions as a gateway for Jordanian exports to Iraq, since the border closed in 2015, he noted.

Tomatoes account for 45 per cent of exported vegetables, while peaches are the number one fruit exported, according to the official.

Jordan Farmers Union President Mahmoud Oran commended the commitment of farmers to cultivating and packaging rules, which has lead to producing 'safe and quality' fruits and vegetables.

Oran attributed the increase in exports to several factors, such as the quality of irrigation, and the adapted response to the markets' needs.

'Evidence, such as the importation levels by European countries, shows that Jordanian produce is of high quality and reputation,' the union's president said.

For his part, President of the Jordan Exporters and Producers Association for Fruits and Vegetables, Abdullah Zaben, called upon the ministry to support the association by improving the performance of the testing laboratories and increasing the number of the ministry's technicians.

Regarding livestock exports, they increased by 31 per cent compared to July 2016, according to the ministry.

Some 38,180 animals were exported in July, mainly to Gulf countries, the ministry said, adding that the number is expected to double before Eid Al Adha.

In preparation for Eid Al Adha, the feast of sacrifice marking the end of the pilgrimage season, the ministry has ensured the availability of around 500,000 animals for both exports and domestic markets.

For Oran, importing livestock has a negative impact on domestic produce and increases the operational cost for the farmers.

'By importing 400,000 animals last month, the price of local lamb has dropped by 30-40 per cent,' he said, adding that the government has also allowed the importation of meat from China.


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