Opportunities and potential for organic farming in the arid lands of Jordan

  • Mohammad Al-Oun

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Certified organic farming is developing rapidly world-wide and has become of interest to many farmers, politicians, environmentalists and governments and is practised now in nearly all countries of the world. However, adoption of certified organic farming is not an easy option for farmers and it carries with it several technical, economic, social, cultural and legal barriers. The Jordanian
    Government is interested in proposing organic farming to farmers, but has not yet investigated whether or not organic farming will be a suitable system. Therefore, this research was based on the
    need to investigate the main barriers and to evaluate opportunities and potential for organic farming in Jordan‟s arid lands and to propose an action plan for the adoption of organic farming based on local farmer participation, using farmers‟ local knowledge and their initiative, as well as institutional participation. To do so, a two-stage research methodology was employed in this research to gain the necessary data during two periods of fieldwork, April to September 2004 and July to September 2005. During this fieldwork, interviews with 46 farmers using an open questionnaire and interviews with discussion groups and government officials were conducted to investigate barriers and potential for organic farming in Jordan. For the second stage, a national workshop was conducted attended by the Minister of Agriculture and stakeholders to generate suggestions, priorities and recommendations for an action plan to adopt organic farming in Jordan.

    Respondents reported that the main barriers to adopting organic farming were perception, technical, nutrient availability, cultural/social, marketing, economic, institutional, lack of national regulation and lack of information and advice, but that labour was not a barrier. Findings also showed that despite barriers the area has potential for organic production owing to its extensive area, good water quality, potential farmers and international agreements. The action plan was developed based on the empirical results of stage one (questionnaire, interviews and the discussion groups) and stage two (the workshop outcomes), and utilising the five perceived attributes of innovations: relative advantage, complexity, trialability, compatibility and observability. The plan is divided into four levels: government, field, academic, and regional and international, and the role of each level and its relationship with other levels is explained.

    The research shows that the success of this plan with delivery of its objectives does not rely on the work of only the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) or any other single body, but on everyone involved in the organic farming movement in Jordan. In addition, the methodology developed in this research is considered to be of value for future researchers wanting to conduct research on organic farming or research related to sustainable agricultural development in the developing world context.
    Date of Award2007
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorPhil Harris (Supervisor), Angela Browne (Supervisor), Hazel Barrett (Supervisor) & Julia Wright (Supervisor)

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