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The Ministry of Agriculture in Jordan was established in 1939 but it did not start providing extension services until 1954. In 1979, agricultural research and extension were merged into one department called the Department of Scientific Research and Agricultural Extension. NCARE establishment goes back to the late 1950’s, when the Department of Research and Extension had been created. In 1985, research activities were separated from the Department and given to a new research center "The National Center for Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer (NCARTT)". In 1993, NCARTT became a semi-autonomous institution. In 2007, NCARTT was reformed to resume responsibility for extension and its name was changed to National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension (NCARE).

Public extension services in Jordan have been criticized for low coverage of farmers, including the small number of extension workers, their unsatisfactory technical know-how, as well as their lack of proper program planning and evaluation. Some of the factors responsible for unsatisfactory services are the small number of extension workers, their insufficient operational funding, their lack of transportation facilities and rare in-service training. A number of private companies are carrying out extension activities during the promotion of their agricultural businesses.

Jordan is a Middle Eastern kingdom located on the East Bank of the River Jordan. It’s only port located, in the south-west, is shared with Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The country’s capital is Amman. More than half of Jordan’s land is a part of the Arabian Desert. Its eastern part has oasis and seasonal water streams for irrigation while the western part has both arable land and Mediterranean forests. Jordan is considered as an upper middle income country with well developed infrastructure and relatively high standard of living along with an emerging free economy. There are 12 provinces or governorates in Jordan, which are sub-divided into 54 districts. Each governorate has its own capital. In 2011, Jordan had a population of 6,181,000, not counting about 200,000 immigrants and/or refugees. The annual population growth rate, recorded in 2004, was 2.5 percent. 

The climate of Jordan is Mediterranean, with dry hot summers and cold and wet winters with snowfall at higher altitude. Before and after the summer, the country faces a brief spell of dusty, hot desert winds of high speed rising from the south, which are potentially destructive for crops. Hardly 10 percent of the land is suitable for agriculture. Food imports are high, with wheat and barley largely grown in the rain-fed uplands. Irrigated agriculture exists in the Jordan Valley because of East Ghor Canal where citrus fruits, melons and vegetables, like cucumbers, tomatoes and eggplants, cultivated with higher production than the marketing demand. Planting of olive and fruit trees has caused a reduction in the country’s pastures for livestock, which comprise sheep, goats, camels, cattle, mules, donkeys and poultry. Water remains a limiting factor for agricultural operations. 

Several multi-lateral and bi-lateral donors have provided financial and technical assistance to Jordan in various sectors. The assistance for the agriculture sector, however, has mainly come from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) including agricultural development, financial services, rural infrastructure, livestock and fisheries, capacity building and institutional development, storage, food-processing, marketing, research, training and small and medium enterprise development; USAID working on water resource management, France (AFD including the fertilizer industry), Germany (GIZ including water and environment, agriculture and rural development, institution and capacity building), Canada (CIDA including environment, vocational education and water improvement), and the Islamic Development Bank including agriculture sector support. The World Bank has proposed a $ 3.3 million Global Environment Facility Trust Fund Grant in June 2012 for the Badia Ecosystem and Livelihood Project.


Public Institutions

Ministry of Agriculture (in Arabic only). The Director-General of the ministry has four Director-General Assistants administering different departments, and one of them is the Director-General Assistant for Extension who is in-charge of the Department of Extension Programs. Other three departments under the same administration cover information & administration of agriculture, media & awareness, and training. The Department of Extension Programs works as a part of the National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension.

National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension (NCARE) is located in Amman and is the national institution presently responsible for both agricultural research and extension in Jordan. Although a semi-autonomous body, it still depends on the government for its core funding. NCARE operates eight regional centers, 13 research stations located in various agro-ecological zones, and 13 extension units spread throughout the country.

NCARE's mandate is to conduct and coordinate applied agricultural research and extension to assist the transfer and adoption of appropriate and improved technologies, facilitate continuous professional development, and recognize the significant professional contributions of its members. 

  1. Preparing agricultural research and extension plans for sustainable development; 
  2. Adapting the latest agricultural techniques for local conditions; 
  3. Conducting economic studies aimed at improving farmers’ organizations; 
  4. Building capacity of researchers and extension agents in collaboration with local, national and international partners and providing training and cross-learning opportunities in order to better addressing agricultural development problems. 

Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) is the one which offers degree programs in various agricultural disciplines such as animal production, natural resources and environment, nutrition and food technology, and plant production. The Faculty of Agriculture of JUST runs Community Service, which has extension type activities like field days, workshops, exhibitions, and short training courses. Faculty members provide consulting services to individual farmers and organizations. They also serve on committees that deal with various aspects of agriculture, food industry and extension in Jordan and the Middle East.

University of Jordan is a state-supported institution of higher learning, serves the cause of teaching, research and community service. The university has Institute of Agricultural Research, Training, Extension and Education, headed by a Dean.

Agricultural Credit Corporation is the main official institution for extending loans to the farmers, yet it does provide some technical guidance to the farmers in the process. The Corporation outreaches farmers in rural areas and runs projects aimed at alleviation of unemployment and poverty.

Andrea Bohn,
17/1/2011 10:06