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Agriculture Ministry refutes reports on doubling tomato production
AMMAN — The Agriculture Ministry on Saturday refuted reports that it has directed farmers to double their produce of tomatoes after the reopening of Turaibil border crossing with Iraq, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
 
In a statement carried by Petra, the ministry said that after the closure of the borders, Iraq found other markets and it will take time to resume certain Jordanian produce imports such as tomatoes.
 
The ministry stressed that it is following up on the drop of prices of tomatoes in Jordan that resulted from “large supply and low demand”.  
 
The ministry said that it exerts numerous efforts to protect farmers and stakeholders and implements projects worth millions to help farmers and improve their produce. 
 
The government has allocated JD20 million as interest-free loans for farmers through the Agriculture Credit Fund.
 
The ministry said it is in contact with farmers through media outlets and agricultural associations to provide them with advise and technical opinion on produce, according to the statement.
 
The ministry called on farmers to plant potatoes, onions, garlic, carrot and citrus, noting that imports of potatoes dropped from 10,500 tonnes in 2016 to 1,600 tonnes in 2017. 
 
For onions, the imports dropped from 25,000 tonnes in 2016 to 5,000 tonnes last year. Also Jordan imported 4,100 tonnes of dates in 2016 while it imported 3,400 tonnes last year.
 
The ministry also said that it also resumed work on a project to dry tomatoes which began in 2015. The project will be administered by the Farmers Union.
 
Another factory for drying tomatoes will be built in Mafraq by the end of this year, said the statement.     
 
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