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Shraideh, WB regional director sign $125m loan agreement

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nasser Shraideh, and World Bank’s Mashreq Regional Director Jean-Christophe Carret, on Tuesday signed the Loan Agreement for the Agriculture Resilience, Value Chain Development and Innovation (ARDI or “My Land”) Programme for Results on the sidelines of the World Bank annual meeting. 

The $125 million programme, approved by the bank on September 29, aims to strengthen the development of Jordan’s agriculture sector by enhancing its climate resilience, increasing competitiveness and inclusion, and ensuring medium- to long-term food security in line with Jordan’s National Sustainable Agriculture Plan and Jordan’s new Vision for Economic Modernisation, according to a World Bank statement. 

The programme will provide during the period of 2022-2027 about 30,000 farming households with financing to adopt climate-smart and water-efficient agriculture practices, provide needs based training, and generate about 12,000 employment opportunities, focusing on Jordanian women and youth.  

The programme will also create economic opportunities for Syrian refugees. 

Jordan’s agri-food sector is an important source of income and employment.  Around a quarter of Jordan’s poor, and a large number of Syrian refugees, rely on agriculture for their income. Agriculture accounts for approximately 20 per cent of merchandise exports, yet only about half of the export potential for fruits and vegetables has been achieved. 

The sector holds untapped growth potential if significant medium- to long-term challenges are addressed. Climate change is significantly worsening water scarcity and increasing drought risks, affecting agricultural productivity and rural livelihoods. 

Furthermore, a set of structural factors, such as the loss of key transport routes through Syria and lack of investment in supply chain infrastructure, have led to declines in competitiveness on local markets and in exports, according to a statement from the WB.

“The ARDI programme supports key pillars of the National Sustainable Agriculture Plan and Jordan’s Economic Vision 2033,” said Shraideh.

“It combines policy reform with significant investments on the ground and highlights Jordan’s commitment to create the enabling environment to transform the agriculture sector and realise its full growth potential. Additionally, the programme further supports achieving a set of cornerstone results, under the National Plan for Sustainable Agriculture umbrella, to establish an adequate enabling policy and investment environment for private sector-led growth in the agriculture sector,” he said.

The ARDI programme aims to address critical challenges facing the sector along two pillars, “Climate Resilience and Sustainability” and “Competitiveness and Exports”. Under the first pillar, the programme will support the scale-up of sustainable rainwater harvesting practices, both at the farm and community levels. 

It will also expand the delivery of climate-smart extension services to farmers, advance the coverage of veterinary services and foster the digital ecosystem and innovation. Under the second pillar, the programme will focus on coordinated value chain and export promotion, investments in water productivity through improved access to finance for the sector and a comprehensive training and job matching programme, the statement said.

 “Investing in agricultural production and value chains can help serve a growing local market and contribute to food security,” said Carret. “The ARDI Programme will invest in building the skills and knowledge of women, youth and refugees to increase their employability and support the transition to formal employment,” he added.

The Programme will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Agriculture Research Centre and the Agriculture Credit Corporation, under a whole-of-government approach, involving other relevant line ministries and agencies.

The ARDI Programme is financed through a $95.6 million contribution from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a $23.9 million grant from the Global Concessional Financing Facility and a $5.5 million grant from the Partnership for Improving Prospects for Forcibly Displaced Persons and Host Communities, supported by the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

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