Panel Discussion on the Latest Achievements of the Smart Desert Project in Jordan’s Northern and Eastern Highlands

Panel Discussion on the Latest Achievements of the Smart Desert Project in Jordan’s Northern and Eastern Highlands
Sunday 19 March, 2023

Smart DESERT Project team, funded by the French Development Agency (AFD), held today a panel discussion about the achievements of the project. The event was attended by representatives from the international and Arab organizations, civil society, farmers, the private sector and representatives from the local community.

The project contributed to creating a sustainable income for Jordanians and Syrian refugees in Jordan’s northern and eastern highlands through support for 69 farms, 304 home based businesses in addition to creating 1224 employment opportunities short-term and long-term.

The project worked on using alternative water and energy sources by supporting farms and medium and small food processing facilities, as well as improving working conditions on farms and home based businesses through several awareness-raising sessions and legal support for a number of cooperative organizations that have worked on raising awareness and train approximately 900 people working in the agricultural sector.

Eng. Ali Hayajneh, Project Manager said: “Today, we are proud of the continuous and tireless efforts that we have accomplished over the past two years in implementing the Smart DESERT Project. We are working toward its objectives in empowering the agricultural community and transforming them into smart agriculture; so that water and energy is used efficiently in addition to using alternative energy and preserving natural sources for sustainable development. The project team worked at all levels to achieve the objectives of the project by disseminating awareness of the improvement of working conditions, providing technical and financial support for farms and home based businesses. We also provided employment opportunities for many Syrian refugees and Jordanian in the governorates of Mafraq, Zarqa, Jerash and Irbid “.

Smart DESERT Project is a pilot-project financed under the Minka Peace and Resilience Fund, dedicated to reducing vulnerabilities and long-term effects of the Syrian refugee crisis in host countries. France, through the AFD, allocated a 10M€ grant to the Smart DESERT Project.

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.

The project is 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 reach young entrepreneurs and trainees through direct and indirect capacity-building programs, and support 500 agricultural home based businesses and 200 farms in the North-Eastern Badia Highlands.