IUCN Launched Smart DESERT Project Activities

IUCN Launched Smart DESERT Project Activities
Monday 27 September, 2021

The project will improve the regularity of the Jordanian and Syrian Beneficiaries’ Income throughout the Year in the North-East Badia Highlands

Amman- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) launched today, the Smart DESERT project activities, funded by The Agence Française de Développement  (AFD), in a panel discussion to introduce the project and its objectives. The event was attended by representatives from the AFD, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the Ministry of Agriculture, in addition to representatives from the international and Arab organizations, civil society, farmers, the private sector and representatives from the local community.

The Smart DESERT project aims at creating a paradigm shift in the agricultural sector in Jordan by improving the regularity of the Jordanian and Syrian beneficiaries’ income throughout the year in the North-East Badia Highlands through the diversification of production, the adoption of better farming practices and support for employment.

The project also aims to support the improvement of working conditions for agricultural workers and will focus on smart farming, efficient irrigation, proper crop selection, use of non-conventional water resources, and meeting market requirements.

Eng. Ali Hayajneh, Smart DESERT Project Manager at IUCN said: “The Smart DESERT project is in line with his majesty King Abdullah vision toward the agriculture sector by providing farmers access to modern agricultural technology and expanding opportunities for Jordanians to achieve food security”. 

Al-Hayajneh added : “The project will create a paradigm shift in the agricultural sector by moving it from supply-driven agriculture based on conventional thought, to a demand-driven, technologically advanced, dynamic, private-sector led agricultural sector. The Project will establish a company that will stop farming from being reactionary which leads to having shortages, and others surpluses of supply”.

Mr. Laurent Duriez, the Country Director for the Agence Française de Développement in Jordan said: “The ambition of the Minka initiative is to tackle the territorial, social and economic challenges generated by the Syrian crisis, in the Middle East and particularly in Jordan. The context requires us to take the time to understand the deep roots of the crises, but also to act much faster to provide immediate responses to the people who rely on us. Supported by France, through a 10M€ grant funded by the AFD, this is the core of the Smart DESERT project implemented by our Jordanian and international partner”.

The project will reach 15,000 young entrepreneurs and trainees through direct and indirect capacity-building programs, and support 500 agricultural home based business, 200 farms in the North-East Badia Highlands. The project will be implemented by IUCN in partnership with Blumont, Horizons for Green Development, GreenTech, and Inter-Islamic Network on Water Resources Development and Management (INWRDAM).

It is worth mentioning that the Smart DESERT Project will support farmers, home-based business owners, food processing facilities by assessing the needs of local and regional markets and build the capacity of the beneficiaries to meet these demands by using modern agricultural technologies such as proper crop selection, efficient irrigation, proper use of non-conventional water sources, and cost reduction using solar and energy efficiency measures.

The project will support the improvement of working conditions for agricultural workers through building the capacity of cooperative societies and conducting awareness campaigns. Moreover, the project will provide home based businesses’ with training sessions covering a number of areas, including management, marketing, finance, and business skills to facilitate their entry into the formal economy and link them to new markets.