Rural Economy Forum Begins With International Support

(MENAFN- Jordan News Agency)

Amman, Feb. 25 (Petra) - The Forum for Promoting the Rural Economy began Sunday, which is organized by the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO) through the Rural Economic Growth and Employment Project (REGEP), funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Dutch government, with Arab, regional and international participation.
The two-day forum focuses on main topics related to rural development, including the role of regional and international partnerships in rural development, as an open hub between local and international partners, in addition to visions of entrepreneurship in rural communities in terms of technology, innovation, and access to finance. Additionally, the sessions discuss gender and the role of youth in rural empowerment, sustainable investment in agriculture and climate change, ways to achieve sustainable food security, and marketing and agricultural tourism strategy.
The forum will present an integrated vision for policy approaches for rural development, developing them and linking them to international best practices, access to knowledge and exchange of experiences and ideas among participants, including relevant Jordanian ministries and institutions, regional, international and donor institutions and bodies, civil society institutions, local and international experts, the Central Bank and financing institutions.
Delegates will speak at the forum from the Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development (AAAID), the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the Fund for Development of Youth Projects (Sharakah) in Oman, the Ajman Center for Entrepreneurship, the Qatar Fund for Development, and the Saudi Fund for Development, Saudi facilities, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the IFAD, the Dutch Embassy, the Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF), the Cities and Villages Development Bank, the Ministry of Environment, and the Central Bank of Jordan.
Specialists from the Agricultural Credit Corporation, the Business Development Center, the Association of Banks in Jordan, the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC), the Development and Employment Fund, and the Ministries of Agriculture, Planning and Tourism are participating in the forum.
Abdel Fattah Kayed, the Executive Director of JEDCO, emphasized that the forum marks a pioneering effort aimed at rural development and fostering innovative projects in these areas. This focus is crucial for achieving economic equilibrium and generating employment opportunities, which positively impacts the prospects for youth and women in rural regions and the broader national economy.
While overseeing the forum's inauguration on behalf of Minister of Industry, Trade, and Supply, Yousef Shamali, Kayed highlighted the multifaceted challenge of rural development. He underscored that this responsibility transcends governmental and institutional boundaries, requiring collective commitment from all stakeholders to ensure societal well-being and stability.
Kayed emphasized the interconnectedness of empowering rural entrepreneurs and driving innovation, underlining that innovation serves as a pivotal catalyst for investment in eco-friendly technologies, enhancing production quality, and bolstering export potential.
Moreover, Kayed outlined the government's collaborative efforts with its partners to provide farmers with access to knowledge on best agricultural practices. This includes promoting research and development endeavors in academic institutions, facilitating agricultural sector participation in regional and global exhibitions, and launching supportive programs and initiatives. These actions aim to bolster modern agricultural capabilities and align infrastructure with international standards.
The forum's objectives, he noted, encompass forging consensus on solutions, sharing experiences, and initiating strategies to address pivotal issues vital for rural economy development. Kayed highlighted the government's role in enhancing solutions, particularly concerning rural project financing challenges.
He stressed the need to streamline access to financing, provide assurances to funding entities, and mitigate financial risks and insolvency concerns faced by project owners.
Coen van Kessel, the Second Secretary for Economic Affairs at the Dutch Embassy in Amman, outlined the Dutch strategy in Jordan until 2026, emphasizing sustainable hosting of refugees, fostering comprehensive economic growth, and safeguarding human rights, civil society, water resources, climate, and agriculture.
He highlighted their commitment to managing water resources sustainably, optimizing water usage in agriculture, and promoting competitiveness and environmental sustainability in the agricultural sector.
Moreover, van Kessel underscored the Dutch government's support for the Rural Economic Development and Employment Project. This collaborative effort with the National Agricultural Research Center, the Jordan River Foundation, and the Fruit and Vegetable Exporters and Producers Association aims to empower farmers, enhance production, and facilitate fair market access.
Dina Saleh, the Regional Director for the Near East, North Africa, Central Asia, and Europe at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), emphasized IFAD's role as a UN-affiliated financial institution dedicated to sustainable rural development.
Saleh highlighted the importance of regional and international partnerships in addressing various challenges, particularly during crises.
Zaid Ensour, the Director of the Rural Economic Development and Employment Program, explained that the forum stemmed from JEDCO's achievements since 2015. He noted that the program aligns with poverty reduction strategies, water scarcity responses, national climate change policies, and food security initiatives.
Ensour detailed the program's provision of technical support, including modern agricultural techniques, capacity building for producers, and quality certification processes to enhance productivity and ensure food safety.


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