Since early morning, the workers have been busy in the field. They are moving slowly through the long rows of vegetables, picking the ripe ones ready for harvest. Within a few hours, a long line of plastic boxes has been loaded with eggplants, squashes, peppers, tomatoes and other vegetables. Once the day’s harvest is loaded onto the waiting truck, it heads out of the fertile Jordan Valley. Being 450 meters below sea level and at least 15ºC warmer than other parts of Jordan, the farm’s growing season runs right through the winter.
“We are harvesting three times a week in a 6-month season and all the vegetables are shipped to local Community Based Organizations (CBO), who distribute it to vulnerable families living in other areas of Jordan. In this way, we are supporting about 500 vulnerable families a week with fresh vegetables! It has a great impact – especially for the health of their children,” says Project Manager Brian Howard.
On this day, the boxes of vegetables spend almost two hours on the road – travelling from the western part of Jordan to a small town in the east. Here they are welcomed by adults and children waiting in front of a small community hall. The building belongs to a local CBO, that provides educational activities for refugee children who are not able to attend local schools.
“People are really looking forward to receiving the vegetables,” says the director of the CBO.
The 10-kilogram boxes on the truck are transferred into big black plastic bags under the director’s supervision. It is the neediest families who will receive a bag, and the CBO-director is holding a paper with a long line of names written on it. She explains that some of the needy families are staying far away and therefore the CBO’s vehicle will deliver vegetables to them later.
“We used to have funds for the school that also made us able to give the children a meal during the day, but that was cut off in the fall of 2018. Now we only have the vegetables from Agricultural Cooperation for Development (AC4D) once a week, and they do indeed make a big difference in the lives of the many very poor people in this area.”Statistics
During the 2017/2018 season, the AC4D test-farm:
- Produced 12,500 kg hydroponic tomatoes and 6,300 kg peppers.
- Produced and delivered a total of 150,000 kg vegetables.
- Delivered 15,132 boxes of vegetables to needy people.
- Provided a total of 75,660 adults and children with food from the farm.
- Drove the truck 12,500 km to deliver the vegetables.