|New impetus for Jordan|
|Commercial cut flowers’ production in Jordan was initiated late in the 20th century in the Baqa’a and Madaba region due to its proximity to Amman, which is the main consumption center.
These two regions remain the two major production centers, concentrating 94 percent of acreage. Forty-two companies are registered as commercial growers and grow 120 hectares of flowers, producing circa 1,112 million stems. The industry has several experienced exporters that dominate the market, although small family-owned companies, which grow a wide range of flowers to meet the increasing demand of the local market.
There are presently four market places in Amman, offering two marketing systems: Shouting auction, generally three times a week, and cash and carry. Most clients are Jordanian florists with several growers also having their own florist shops in town. Main flowers grown are carnations, roses, gerberas, gladiolus, freesia, helianthus, liatries, lilies (oriental and asiatic), mathiola, statice and chrysanthemum in Baqa’a and Madaba, while producers in the Jordan valley region grow gypsophila and foliage (e.g. Ruscus, Asparagus).
Most species are available from February to December, depending on the type and region, while growers are considering installing heating systems for year round production. Supporting export The cut flower export scene in Jordan over the past ten years has been variable with increasing volumes going to the Gulf states particularly, and Eastern Europe, while exports to the EU have been decreasing. Total export volume has actually decreased from 182.5 tons in 1994 to 26.9 tons in 2003. A signing of a partnership agreement with the EU in May 2002 (Jordan-EU Association Agreement), however, led to fresh-cut flowers and ornamental plants being identified as one of the strategic sectors for the development of exports by the Euro-Jordanian Export Program (EJEP). A specific ornamentals’ program was subsequently developed with Jordanian growers to promote exports. Related activities over a two-year period included an industry audit, trade missions to Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, technical assistance on post-harvest and training on export marketing.
These raised awareness of the European market standards and requirements and several growers are presently redesigning their operations towards an export business concept, with a more specialized strategy. Since January 2004, visits to leading Flower Auction House in both Germany (NBV/UGA) and the Netherlands (VBA and Flora Holland) have taken place. Trial shipments were organized in April 2005, after which a delegation from NBV-UGA and VBA visited Jordan in July and shared their views on European market trends and requirements during a workshop. And in November, a delegation of Jordan growers visited |VBA and NBV-UGA during the HortiFair exhibition, which resulted in an agreement to have Jordan quality controllers trained in Germany and possibly the Netherlands. A project to build a new and modern centralized auction market in Amman has also been approved, with a feasibility study to take place in 2006 and implementation to take place before 2008.
Concentrating on actual ornamentals production, market research and contacts have been established with Danish and Italian growers to promote trade partnership in ornamental plants. Opportunities have been identified for the production of young plants, semi-finished plants or propagating material in Jordan for both the Gulf and European markets, as well as for the acclimatization of plants for the Jordan and Middle-East landscaping market. “Basically, Jordan can grow the same range as Israel, thanks to its three climatic areas, with lower production costs,” says Hana Uraidi, manager of the Euro-Jordanian Export project. Educated management, skilled and semi-skilled labor is available for average monthly wages of $175, while freight costs is presently around $1 per kg. Cheaper rates are expected as export volumes increase and new carriers establish links in Amman, such as Cargolux. Favorable economic climate Jordan has undertaken a significant amount of work in redesigning the infrastructure to enhance trade liberalization and economic development in the country, especially in the areas of investment (foreign and domestic) and export development. -There are no restrictions on foreign investment in this sector, as it is possible to own 100 percent foreign equity. Companies investing in agriculture enjoy a 75 percent exemption of income tax for 10 years.
Furthermore, agricultural inputs for exports are exempted from import duties. -The country is a member of the WTO and has effective free-trade agreements with the USA, EU, European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and seventeen Arab countries. As of 2006, fresh cut flowers have a current quota of 2,000 tons per annum that can enter the EU in exemption of custom duties. To give Jordan growers huge opportunities to attract investors and develop exports, this quota of fresh cut flowers was renegotiated and increased to 12,000 tons by 2010.
Furthermore, Jordan is committed to a number of international agreements, demonstrating the willingness of the government to play according to international rules and best practices; Jordan is a member of the International Labor Organisation (ILO) and matches internationally recognized standards in terms of labor employment, including official minimum wages. Regarding intellectual properties in the field of agriculture, Jordan is a member of UPOV since 2004, which guarantees respect of breeder’s rights. Of course, the industry is still young, and improvements are still necessary to build up a strong production base.
Nevertheless, the setting up of Jordan’s Cut Flower and Ornamental Plants Association in July 2005 demonstrates the commitment of growers to join forces in order to promote their industry. Table 1. Cut flower production in Jordan 2004 season (hectares). Production area Production area (ha) Altitude above Temperature sea level (m) (min/max) Baqa’a 40 680 7ºC/35ºC Madaba 39 740-820 3ºC/31ºC Jordan valley 3 (-220)-(-240) 10ºC/32ºC Other areas 2 Total 84 NCARTT National Centre of Agriculture Research and Technology Transfer Marie-Françoise Petitjean is consultant for EJEP/EJADA
Amman,04 18 2006