Jordan: farmers dump tomato in street to protest low prices

Closure of Syrian, Iraqi markets worsened farmers plight

02 February, 17:25

    Tomato prices have plunged in Jordan following the shutdown of traditional markets like Syria and Iraq due to the ongoing wars Tomato prices have plunged in Jordan following the shutdown of traditional markets like Syria and Iraq due to the ongoing wars

    AMMAN - About 2000 farmers from south Jordan dumped thousands of tonnes of tomato in the streets to protest low prices and absence of support to export abroad, activists and farmers said today.
    The farmers from the southern Jordan followed footsteps of hundreds of other farmers in the Jordan valley, the kingdoms fruit and vegetable basket, who have been angered by the extremely low price of tomato.
    President of the Jordan Exporters and Producers Association for Fruit and Vegetables Zuhair Jweihan described the situation as disastrous.
    "The government must take an action. They should help us market our prodcuts or we are facing a serious catastrophe," he told ANSA by phone.
    Central market price of a box of tomato has been hovering around JD 0.32 TO JD 0.50, or less than one US dollar, he said, warning that thousands of farmers will go bankrupt unless prices improve.
    Jordan has lost its traditional markets such as Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon due to the civil wars and difficulty of finding safe routs for the products. The oil rich gulf states place sever restrictions on importing vegetables from Jordan.
    Syrian and Iraqi markets used to consume 400,000 tonnes of tomatoes per year.
    Official figures show that local production of tomatoes stands at 1,000 tonnes daily, but daily consumption is no more than 400 tonnes. Jordan is one of the top 10 countries in the world in producing and exporting tomatoes, representing 65 percent of exported agricultural produce.

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