(MENAFN- Jordan News Agency)
Amman, Jan. 15 (Petra)- The agricultural sector is see a 'qualitative' leap that began this year with a hike in the ministry's allocations, as its capital expenditures amounted to JD30 million for the first time, Minister of Agriculture, Khaled Hneifat said in his interview with 'Petra' on Saturday.
As the key future step, the minister referred to to the comprehensive agricultural development plan, which aims to increase the gross domestic product of the agricultural sector during the next four years.
The plan, he noted, will create about 8,000 permanent jobs annually, which will contribute to reducing poverty, promoting development, and increasing the empowerment of rural women working in agriculture, by supporting their production projects.
On the sector's investment opportunities, Hneifat said about 36 investment opportunities will be offered in the two basins of Al-Hammad and Al-Sarhan, which are not water drained, and can supply agricultural projects with approximately 25 million cubic meters of water.
The investment should be within the ministry's parameters to support the sector for the purposes of exporting, manufacturing or cultivating crops that 'do not harm the Jordanian farmer, whose interest is a ministry priority,' according to Hneifat.
Investment will be made in the food industries by establishing three factories in the southern Jordan Valley, especially for drying and producing tomato paste, he noted.
On the mechanism of supporting Jordanian farmers, Hneifat pointed to an increase in the budget of the agricultural lending portfolio, which rose in 2021 from JD70 million to JD100 million, adding that JD35 million were disbursed in the form of interest-free agricultural loans, which created about 700 permanent jobs.
The same program will be be implemented in 2022, but with intensified monitoring to provide assistance for 'real and successful' projects and avoid supporting any ghost enterprises, or fake livestock possessions, which amounted to 40 percent of the farmers who received aid without owning herds and duped the ministry in this regard, he noted.
Hneifat added that focus will be on 'successful' projects that provided job opportunities in the farming sector, especially those run by young farmers, who received about JD5 million of the ministry's allocations, noting their projects 'achieved leadership and success' and created many job opportunities.
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