Pioneering Green Composting Initiative for Local Women Cooperative in Southern Ghor Jordan
The Jordan valley is considered the country’s food basket, able to support various kinds of cultivation. The intensive agricultural practices however contribute to the production of thousands of tons of green waste on an annual basis. Management of this green waste is an ongoing challenging and is currently either transferred to dump sites or used as livestock feed, both of which create serious environmental issues. Farmers heavily use pesticides, insecticides and animal (poultry) fertilizers, all of which are deteriorating the soil, affecting the quality of agricultural production (mainly vegetables), and causing a severe fly problem that is affecting the health of local inhabitants and impeding tourism economic potential.
Using green composting as a solution for green waste management will have positive impacts on both the environment and the socio-economic outlook. Green composting enriches soil with nutrients, helps to retain moisture, and suppresses plant diseases and pests . It also reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and encourages the reduction of methane emissions from landfills – all of which lowers the carbon footprint.
Mr. Helal Ahsan Ul Haque, MEDA Country Director stated that MEDA Jordan is supporting innovation in green composting for the Jordan Valley, funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) through the Jordan Valley Linkages (JVL) project. Accordingly, MEDA has provided resources to initiate a pioneering green composting project in Ghor El Naqu’, South Ghor. The activity will be led by Future Pioneers for Empowering Communities (FEPC) in collaboration with Ghor Al Naqe’ women cooperative (GNWC). It is expected to start providing organic compost to farmers to improve their agricultural production and enrich soil composition, while also improving the economic situation of women workers of the cooperative who will sell the compost as a new income generating opportunity.
Mrs. Obaida Hammash, Executive Director of Future Pioneers stated that the project will be undertaken in two phases. Phase I included obtaining the necessary approvals; raising awareness of farmers to get their support; preparing a plot of land with an area of 2 donums ; purchasing the necessary equipment, such as the shredder machine; and initiating collection of green waste from surrounding farms. As of March 31, 2020, 65 tons of green waste has been collected and transferred to the composting facility. With the current enthusiastic support of farmers, 100 tons was expected to be collected but the COVID-19 crisis has delayed the collection process.
Phase II will include capacity building about green composting for women workers of the GNWC. This training will deal with the definition of green composting, outline its advantages, and highlight the disadvantages of using chemical animal (poultry) fertilizer, nitrogen versus carbon ratio calculations, manual determination of humidity rate, temperature, etc.
Mrs. Hammash stated that due to the current COVID-19 situation, progress has slowed a little but composting continues. The cooperative in collaboration with FEPC is working to obtain the necessary permit to implement and operationalize this project and to find an appropriate mechanism to move the shredder machine to their site. The composting process is naturally going well - thanks to the temperature and atmospheric conditions on site. Since the movement of men is easier during this restricted period, it is men from the local community have been hired to do this work for now, at low profile of turning and watering compost. It is expected that following the resumption of normalcy, all work will return as normal and the shredder machine will be transferred to the cooperative’s site where final crushing will be done using the shredder.
Mr. Helal Ahsan Ul Haque, Country Director, MEDA Jordan appreciates the role of Future Pioneer in piloting this very promising small-scale composting intervention. He expects that in one hand, this intervention will provide organic compost to farmers to improve their agricultural production and enrich soil composition and on the other hand will create a new income generating opportunity for many women workers of the cooperative.
About the Author
Ehab Eid is the Environment and Clean Technology Adviser of the Jordan Valley Links project. He has a Master’s Degree in multilateral environmental conventions. He is passionate about working with environmental field, and specifically biodiversity conservation. He started his career path working with marine environmental research and studies in 2002, at the Marine Science Station, and moved then to start working at the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature; and he served after this as the executive director of the Royal Marine Conservation Society. Ehab believes that the environment is a priority and a key driver for a successful socio-economic growth. Therefore, it should be mainstreamed into sectorial and sub-sectoral levels.