Friday, May 19, 2017

2016/17 This Season By the Numbers and Our Plan Moving Forward

This season, August 2016 to May 2017, AC4Ds Jordan Valley farm produced:

15,561 Boxes of Produce

Those boxes contained 157,944 Kilograms of Mixed Produce

Over 90% were distributed to Syrian and Iraqi refugees, mostly through 6 local partners

77,805 people ate fresh produce for a week 

50 local farmers participated in extension and training events (with many more visiting the farm between trainings)

Over 15,000kg of tomatoes were produced hydroponically, a major step toward providing local farmers with a sustainable, and cost effective, step forward in the quality and quantity of their production.

Hydroponic Tomatoes 2 Weeks after Planting

One major challenge that has finally overtaken Jordan Agriculture is its over-reliance on chemical pest control and fungicide.  

As of just May 17th the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) have banned the importing of Jordanian produce due to high levels of pesticide and other chemicals.  The requirement is now that all produce meets Euregap standards and Jordanian smallholder farmers are unequipped to understand and implement those standards.  This is a major opportunity for AC4D to continue to add value to the agricultural community but implementing what we have learned to link smallholder farmers with information and training in meeting new standards. 

Hydroponics is an excellent solution for meeting those criteria because it allows plants to be grown year after year in a media unaffected by salinity from poor water quality.  Low salinity means healthy plants which are more resistant to pests, viruses, and fungus therefore requiring LESS CHEMICAL INTERVENTION. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Farmer Capacity Building

AC4D has spent a great deal of time and energy developing and improving upon a simple hydroponic production system that will allow small farmers to get out of the soil and better control the effects of salinity and pests and pathogens.  I am pleased to say that our trial has yielded over 15000 kilos of very high quality Deafness tomatoes despite the management and technical errors that come with the first year of any management system.   We expect significantly better yields next year as system management improves with a higher degree of automation, more stable and consistent nutrient and pH levels and better tools for draining the rows of excess irrigation water.  We are encouraged by the trials this year and recently had the opportunity to host 30+ local farmers, ag. extension specialists and vendors in cooperation with our partners at EcoConsult.

Ag. Projects Manager describing drainage system to a sub-group during the farmer field day