Improving income and strengthening the resilience of smallholder horticultural farmers in Jordan

Smallholder horticultural farmers in Jordan face several challenges that affect their productivity, profitability, overall sustainability, and livelihoods. The three-year horticulture sector development programme JordanHortiFuture (JHF) aims to provide support to address these challenges, improve the income and resilience of smallholder farmers, and contribute to the development and sustainability of the Jordanian horticulture sector as a whole.

The agriculture sector in Jordan is facing numerous challenges, including water scarcity and climate change, while the country's influx of refugees has put additional pressure on natural resources and deepens food insecurity in Jordan.

Smallholder farmers play a crucial role in the horticulture sector, accounting for a significant share of fruits and vegetables production and supply, contributing to food security. However, smallholder farmers are particularly vulnerable, as they often lack access to the necessary knowledge, resources and technology to adapt to changing environmental conditions and to compete in the market.

By providing direct support to smallholder farmers, and engaging other public and private sector stakeholders (small and medium-sized enterprises, cooperatives, governments, policy makers, financial institutions) at multiple levels, the JHF project aims to improve the livelihoods and resilience of smallholder farmers in the face of the current and future challenges. Moreover, the project aims to contribute to the development of the sector as a whole and to food security in Jordan in general.

Multi-level and multi-stakeholder approach

Interventions and activities in the three target regions (Balqa, Irbid and Ajloun) focus on three outcome levels in order to improve:

  1. smallholder farmers horticultural practices;
  2. horticulture value chain performance and market linkages for smallholder farms, and;
  3. horticulture sector enabling and supporting environment for smallholder farms.

Smallholder farmers receive support not only to improve production of high-quality crops and business practices, but also to actually benefit from their production and strengthen their position in the value chain. In addition, JHF focuses on improving overall performance in the wider value chain to ensure farmers find a strong market for their products. And finally, the project supports various sector organisations and actors, both Jordanian government and private sector partners, as they play a vital role in moving towards a thriving Jordanian horticulture sector.

By adopting a multi-level and multi-stakeholder approach to address issues and challenges currently faced by smallholder farmers and other actors in the horticulture value chain, both at individual and organisational levels, JHF aims to both improve the income and resilience of smallholder farmers. Also, the project aims to enhance and contribute to the efficiency, profitability, entrepreneurship, sustainability and resilience of the Jordanian horticulture sector as a whole.

Roles of Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen University & Research is leading on the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) programme, a train-the-trainer programme aimed at smallholder farmers. In addition, we develop farm-level decision support tools and promote nature-inclusive practices. We co-organise Horticulture Innovation Days where new technologies and practices are demonstrated, knowledge is shared and (business) linkages between private and public actor are established. We work closely with the National Agriculture Research Centre, part of the Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture on need-based institutional capacities, innovative applied research and knowledge transfer approaches, and timely and affordable laboratory services for smallholder farmers. And finally, we support with knowledge development, innovation and action research, tailored to the needs of the sector while also providing overall technical assistance, and support to the project’s planning, monitoring, evaluation, and learning (PMEL).