In Eira & Yarqa located at Al-Balqa, the Al Beereh Society has successfully demonstrated how determination and modern farming techniques can revolutionise the agricultural sector to alleviate the pressure on a water-stressed Jordan through introducing the first Hydroponic farming model in the area. The pilot project is supported by UNDP through the Mainstreaming Rio Conventions project, which is funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and Goal Wash.
Throughout the course of one year, starting in September 2017, the Al-Beereh society has helped the local Balqa community to build rainwater harvesting systems as well as a hydroponic equipped nursery for education and training purposes. The new hydroponic technology permits the local community to cultivate agriculture organically and, more importantly, without the use of soil – using only water and minerals. In accordance with UNDP’s climate efforts and the principles of the Rio Convention, this new technology provides a significant preservation of Jordan’s water. As an illustrative example, the system is capable of reducing the water demand of plants by up to 90% and the harvest time for lettuce from 60 days to 35.
Benefits of Hydroponic Technology
By practicing hydroponic farming, the local Balqa farmers receive a plethora of vital advantages that add to the improvement of their income, lifestyle, product quality, and community sustainability. Furthermore, the new technology developed came right in time, as the water levels in the Northwest region of Jordan are not sustainable paired with traditional farming methods.
Due to the new hydroponic techniques, the plants can now be grown in any greenhouse or nursery, regardless of season, provided the supported technology is equipped. Additionally, the high expenses that farmers previously faced with traditional techniques have since been cut substantially, as hydroponic farming does not call for pesticides, sterilizer, or other chemicals. As an added bonus to the lower expenses, farmers may now also enjoy a higher yield rate due to the new technologies expedited growth period – nearly twice as fast as traditional methods. Farmers also do no longer have to invest their money, resources, or labor into weeding, soil borne disease, tilling, and soil texture. The new hydroponic technology arrived at a perfect time, leaving farmers better equipped to achieve bigger, more sustainable results in a shorter span of time.
Keeping Balqa Sustainable
Looking ahead, the Al-Beereh society hopes to soon assemble an additional nursery equipped to breed new, drought resistant plant species. UNDP, continues to support sustainable, climate-friendly efforts in Jordan and looks forward to new efforts surrounding agriculture, water-preservation, and plant technology.