Creating food security and employment for Syrian refugees in Jordan

Global migration due to sudden (natural) disasters or crises is still a hot topic. Confining migration into the regions rather than illegal long distance migration, securing access to food and creating employment opportunities are a few of the main challenges we face. This is also the case for the the Syrian refugees and Jordanians in Jordan. The program HAED-Jo is a Dutch-funded program aimed at solving these issues by improving hydroponic agriculture production and improving the value chain in Jordan’s agricultural sector.

A specific additional issue in Jordan is that water is a scarce commodity. Jordan receives only 200-400 mm rainfall a year, with some farms already reducing the area they can successfully irrigate.


The project’s objectives are to improve food security by improving productivity, feasibility and sustainability of horticulture sector in Jordan. Secondly, create job opportunities for the Syrian refugees and Jordanians in farming production and associated value chain businesses.

This specific programme focusses on hydroponic growing, which in Jordan means growing in substrates in small containers (with growing media such as coir) rather than in soil. Avoiding soil growing in Jordan allows the growers to reduce water losses by drainage to the sub soil and evaporation losses from the surface.

The project: professionals

The project will introduce gradual improvements to the existing Jordanian plastic house horticulture. This is done by bringing adapted Dutch technology and industry innovations for mid-tech greenhouses. Selected farmers have been offered a relatively small improved greenhouse concept as well as post-harvest facilities. The facilities are partly funded by the growers, partly by the project. In return they employ refugees, attend training courses and send employees to training courses. Because growers cannot be expected to suddenly handle the new systems, the program also offers direct skills development courses. Because the ambition is to create results which last after the project run time, there is also a ‘’train the trainers program’ for local (future) extension officers.

sharing knowledge

The project: small holders

The aim here is to builds communities of practice among individual small holders and counterpart agencies. Small holders, when organised in a community of practise, receive funds to realise a hydroponic production unit for local production of herbs and leafy vegetables. For this type of very small enterprises a plan for social inclusion and gender equality is being implemented. Small holders will receive training and advice on how to operate a hydroponic cultivation system by the project. Both project parts, professional and small holders, a learning and adaptive approach is followed which is tuned by information from a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system. This measuring system ensures changes brought about by the project can be expressed in quantitative terms.

Expected results in brief

Briefly, the expected impact will be the following:

  • 600 employment opportunities
  • 10 to 12 hectare (100,000 m2) of improved greenhouses
  • 8 to 10 farms
  • 15 qualified trainers and advisors
  • 2-4 improved post-harvest facilities are realized to improve the Jordanian trade products
  • 2 to 4 partnerships between Dutch and Jordanian businesses
  • 15 grants provided to community based organizations (CBO’s)
  • 50% of these grants are provided to women
  • 3 national workshops on specialized topics of hydroponic production


Continuity after the project run time is thought to be served by:

  • Financial participation of professional growers
  • Training growers and their staff
  • Building local extension capacity
  • A Jordanian project leader engaged in extension support
  • Bringing in those Dutch suppliers who want to partner up with local contractors and suppliers