Water scarcity in Jordan inspires a Badia woman to start an agricultural project!

Water scarcity in Jordan inspires a Badia woman to start an agricultural project!
Wednesday 17 May, 2023

Jordan is the second poorest country in water sources. The Renewable Water Resources in Jordan are less than 100 cubic meters per capita, which is much less than the Global per capita of 500 cubic meters* and indicates a severe shortage of water. Citizens in urban areas are supplied with water once a week, while rural areas are supplied with water less than once every two weeks. Furthermore, this problem intensified after the Syrian asylum crisis, which has led to an increase in demand for water in the last ten years.

Tamadur lives with her family of three children in Rehab, one of the rural areas in the Mafraq governorate. Their house similarly to other villagers is surrounded by a vast land that she and her husband have always thought about benefiting from. However, this land and other lands in Mafraq were not easy to cultivate. Whereas cultivating such areas requires a lot of water, and in a village like theirs, water is not easily available or abundant for the people of the area.

Tamadur had to come up with an idea that would allow her to benefit from the land without the need for a lot of water. One day, while she and her husband were sitting on the balcony, her husband noticed that the cactus plant that she had planted a while ago had grown significantly, although he did not water it frequently. Some small cacti also had grown nearby. At that moment, they came up with an idea for a project for growing cacti and succulents. Consequently, they simply started working on separating the small cacti and multiplying them to start the project, and as these cacti grew and multiplied, the couple had several cacti and began to acquire. Tamadur did not have enough knowledge to manage her project financially and calculate costs and profits correctly. She also had no previous experience in marketing, as the desert weather conditions negatively affected some types of succulents and cacti, which made her try to build a plastic house with her husband. Yet, they could not fully equip it because the project was still in its infancy and there was not enough profit to invest in the completion of greenhouses.

The Smart DESERT project supported Tamadur’s project by equipping greenhouses, covering them, and providing them with peat moss. It also provided her project with tools and agricultural pots that enabled her and her husband to grow more cacti and succulents and reach new markets. Tamadur said, “the equipment provided by the Smart DESERT project contributed to speeding up the production process and increasing our sales. Currently, all plants are protected inside greenhouses after the project provided us with a sieve, and the houses were covered with plastic slides to protect plants from weather, especially in cold winter periods. The other tools and the carts made it easier for us to transport plants after we had to move them manually and slowly. We were able to reduce costs when we got a large number of planting pots so that we could sell more plants.”

Tamadur benefited in particular from the trainings she participated in with the Smart DESERT project team. This reflected positively on her project, Tamadur said, “the training I attended was very useful, and after the training, I made a page for our project on one of the social media platforms, through which I was able to reach many customers who live in other governorates. I did not have any knowledge previously about e-marketing, cost management, and profit calculation, but now I use all these skills to develop and improve my project.”

The project has created a new income for Tamadur’s family. Her husband helps her take care of the plants and multiply them. Additionally, she and her husband have hired two part-time workers to help them at times when they have a large number of requests.

Tamadur project that she started with her husband is one of the household projects that the Smart DESERT project funded by the French Development Agency seeks to support in the northeastern Badia regions. The project aims to create sustainable sources of income for the beneficiaries of the most vulnerable groups of Jordanians and Syrian refugees.