Linking & Learning for compost value chain development in Jordan

Agriculture in Jordan is challenged by water scarcity and climate change. Technology such as hydroponics is one way to produce more crop per drop. But this is capital intensive and beyond the reach of many SME farmers. Farming in healthy soil, using nature-based solutions and craftmanship can be an alternative path. A Netherlands-Jordanian knowledge exchange project unlocks opportunities in the compost value chain to benefit people, planet and profit.

Compost value chain

The agricultural sector in Jordan is urged to adapt climate smart farming methodologies that help retain moisture and restore soil quality, to guarantee food production and food security in the country and wider region. Compost making and compost application are key components of climate smart farming. Compost recycles organic matter to soils, thereby replenishing depleted soils and improving the water retention capacity of soils. It suppresses plant diseases and pests, and reduces the need for chemical fertilisers, potentially reducing input costs. By storing carbon in the soil and preventing methane emissions from organic waste there are further opportunities for carbon farming credits that could enhance the business case for sustainable agriculture.

Obvious advantages

Composting however is still in its infancy in the agriculture sector of Jordan. Despite the obvious advantages of its use, mobilising organic residues for composting and the marketing of compost have proved to be challenging. Potential users may not trust its composition and effects. Farmers who do not own land are not inclined to invest in long-term soil improvements, such as compost. Also, competition with alternative soil fertilisers –such as untreated manure (which is discouraged by the Jordanian government yet still used) – is a critical issue. Pricing is another challenge, as purchasing power among Jordan farmers is limited. The main reasons for compost not being produced and used to its full potential are a lack of knowledge and expertise, weak enforcement of environmental regulations, lack of policies targeting organic waste, and the absence of composting plants.

Collaborative exercise

The Linking & Learning project by Advance Consulting and the Dutch Association of Biowaste Processors (BVOR) is a collaborative exercise with Jordan public and private sector parties, to bridge the gaps in the compost value chain by connecting knowledge, resources and networks. It works together with and builds on the networks of the German development cooperation (GIZ) in waste management. The project that will end in October 2022, will deliver the following results:

  • A pool of at least 100 trained beneficiaries, among which 20 agricultural engineers skilled as master trainers who will be able to train farmers and other stakeholders in producing, using and selling compost.
  • Accessible educational material (including video) for master trainers and sector stakeholders ready to use.
  • An end report capturing the lessons learned during the training trajectory and providing policy recommendations for next steps.

The linking & Learning project for compost value chain development has been initiated by the Netherlands Embassy in Amman, the Agricultural Counsellor for Egypt and Jordan and RVO’s Private Sector Development team.