A Community Development Project: Developing Agriculture in Al-Ghour Region Using Modern Technology
Located at a distance of 50KM from Mutah University main site, the South Jordan Valley has economic significance in the areas of agriculture, industry and society. Agriculturally, Jordan Valley is considered one of the most important fertile areas of the kingdom as for its subtropical weather enabling farmers to make use of such climatic conditions to produce crops not in their planting times, thus obtaining fruiting production of competitive value in local and exporting markets. Therefore, the Faculty of Agriculture at Mutah University has seriously thought of a project that can contribute to the development of this region, as the university believes in the importance of providing services to the surrounding areas. In spite of the huge expenses (1615870JD) needed to bring this project into existence, the university has given this project a top priority as one of the basic goals of the university is Community Development.
This project aims at providing consultation and training to farmers in the region, holding training courses, carrying out researches and experiments as well as carrying out researches aiming at improving various agricultural methods that have yield in planting subtropical, greenhouse, non-green-house crops as well as palm cultivation. This is part of the responsibility of the university to contribute to the social and economic development of the region and helping farmers plan. The development of the agricultural sector has been backed up by the political support of his Majesty King Abdullah Bin Al-Hussein.
Reasons for the establishment of the centre
1. Offering training services to farmers and in the fields of subtropical crops, irrigated and greenhouse planting.
2. Carrying out experimental researches to contribute to the overcoming of problems in Jordan Valley including problems of salinity, optimal usage of irrigation water and the increase of economic outcome.
3. Training farmers and students on the usage of modern and technological, and the adoption of modern agricultural methods.
4. The contribution to the comprehensive agricultural development in Jordan Valley by agricultural extension and training activities directed to farmers.
· The increase of the agricultural activities for farmers in the fields of irrigated planting, tree horticulture, palm cultivation, greenhouse and alternative crops, as well as the optimal usage of water and enhancing the usage habits.
· Providing integrated agricultural services to meet the needs of the region.
· The establishment of agricultural extension and training centre to provide various services and support for farmers.
· Collaborating with national agricultural extension and research institutions to achieve the goals of the centre in the area of Jordan Valley as well as in the kingdom.
· The infra structure.
· Two artesian wells and water reservoirs.
· Three-floor administrative compound including laboratories and teaching halls (area of 2400M).
· An area of 60,000 SQM, equipped with the latest agricultural technologies (soilless culture, fertigation, fertilisation, thermal control through controlling automatic ventilation system, irrigation, shading according to intensity of illumination, and operating irrigation, fertilisation and shading by computer softwares.
· Salt water treatment plant with capacity of 1,900 cubic metres per hour.
· A multi-purpose hangar with area of 1,000 SQM.
Features of the greenhouses
1. Multi-span greenhouses: the area of one of these greenhouses is 7,140SQ.M (total of eight greenhouses with area of 57,120SQM).
2. Soilless culture system: (hydroponics): an inactive agricultural medium is used for planting (coconut coir. Interaction does not occur between the medium and hydroponic nutrient solution contrary to soil planting where large amounts of fertilisers are wasted and mixed with soil so that they become useless. Coconut coir reserves moisture much more than tuff and they can be used later as organic fertilisers.
3. Benefits of hydroponics:
· Increase of productivity as the production within controlled conditions is eight times larger than productions of other methods.
· Saving water: it is used optimally by using amounts collected after irrigation. There is no loss in water as for traditional soil planting, in addition to the implementation of advanced irrigation system in the greenhouses (saving 50% of water).
· Saving fertilisers: plants receive the needed fertilisers and unused amounts are returned to collection reservoirs to be filtered and analysed by computers to re-add required additatives consumed by plants.
· Protection from diseases and pests: greenhouses are equipped with mechanisms that do not allow pests to enter into the greenhouses by installing insect screen meshes and air-lock double-doors, which is useful to gain future economic saving.
4. Floors in greenhouses are covered with Barling carpets to better dispurse lighting inside greenhouses.
5. One of the greenhouses is provided with shading screening to plant crops earlier to guarantee longer production time.
6. Multi-purpose hangar with area of 1,000 SQM, administrative offices and greenhouse monitoring room (2400 SQM), water treatment plant and fertigation system.
7. Salt water treatment plant with a capacity of 1,900 cubic metres per hour. The plant implements electric reverse osmosis system (RO) to reduce salinity of well water to become suitable for planting.