(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — As the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday opened the door to importing potatoes, the farmers union criticised the decision, claiming that Jordan Valley farmers will incur 'additional losses'.
A drop in the production of potatoes caused prices of the basic commodity to rise, the ministry's spokesperson, Nimer Haddadin, said, noting that the decision to allow the import of potatoes is temporary.
'Prices of potatoes reached an unprecedented level in the local market; therefore, the ministry allowed the import of potatoes to control prices and protect consumers,' Haddadin said.
The government official said the Kingdom's daily consumption of potato stands at 400 tonnes, underscoring that the current production does not even meet half of the daily needs of the vegetable.
However, Jordan Valley Farmers Union President Adnan Khaddam said the ministry's decision is unilateral.
'I was shocked this morning to learn about the decision without any prior consultation or discussion with the farmers. The ministry should have waited a few days for the production of potatoes to start in the Jordan Valley,' Khaddam told The Jordan Times.
The farmers' representative acknowledged the drop in potato production, saying that it is normal for supply to drop when production of fruit and vegetables in one location ends and starts in a new one.
He expected prices of potatoes to return to normal within a week.
Haddadin underscored that the licences for importing potatoes will be temporary to avoid causing losses to farmers.
One kilogramme of potatoes is now being sold for JD0.70, according to Abu Mohammad Sannat, who owns a grocery store near the Sports City in Amman.
Sannat said a kilogramme of potato used to be sold for around JD0.30 two weeks ago, noting that many consumers are choosing to wait for its price to drop.