The Fertile Crescent in the Middle East is a region that currently relies heavily on agricultural imports due to its increasing water scarcity and the effects of global climate variations. One of these nations is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which was the first Arab nation to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, back in the year 2000. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is one of the most stable countries in the Middle East region and has a GDP of US$89.1 billion. Due to its political stability and good governance, Jordan has enjoyed over 2.0% annual economic growth for the last several years. At the same time, it is important to mention that Jordan, unlike some of its regional neighbors, does not have large fossil fuel reserves upon which to rely economically.
Agribusiness and Resource Management in Jordan
Jordan is a small country located in the Middle East. With a total territory of 89,342 square kilometers, Jordan is somewhat smaller than Indiana. Geographically, the country is mainly arid desert except for the banks of the Jordan River. Likewise, the country has a mostly warm climate and a rainy season between November and April. Almost a landlocked country, Jordan has 26 kilometers of coastline along the Red Sea. The country has a total population of approximately 10.2 million citizens, about 91% of which live in an urban setting, notably the capital city of Amman with some 2.1 million inhabitants. Currently, Jordan’s national annual gross domestic product (GDP) is US$89 billion and the country has experienced positive economic growth upwards of 2.0% in recent years. The Jordanian economy is divided into 4% agriculture, 29% manufacturing, and 67% services. Similarly, the agriculture industry only utilizes about 11% of the national territory.
In terms of natural resources, Jordan has phosphates, potash, and shale oil. Within manufacturing, the national industry is focused on clothing, fertilizers, phosphate mining, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, and inorganic chemicals. Meanwhile, the country’s small agricultural industry has as main products citrus, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, strawberries, stone fruits, sheep, poultry, and dairy. Likewise, a large sector of Jordan’s economy is dependent on tourism and information technology. In terms of trade, during 2016, Jordan imported US$20.1 billion worth of goods and exported US$8.65 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of US$11.5 billion. Furthermore, that same year, the country’s main export, representing 7.7% or US$666 million of the country’s total, were fertilizers produced with a potassium. On the other hand, the country’s main import, representing 6.3% or US$1.27 billion of all international purchases, were cars. Meanwhile, Jordan’s main trading partners are China, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the European Union.
Simultaneously, land distribution in Jordan has evolved throughout the last several decades. Back in 1961, permanent pastures and meadows in the country covered 790.000 hectares, while arable land covered 270.000 hectares and permanent crops covered 24.000. More recently, by 2015, permanent pastures and meadows covered 742.000 hectares, while arable land represented 228.200 hectares and permanent crops accounted for 86.400 hectares.