Posted 28 August 2011, by Arwa Aburawa, Green Prophet, greenprophet.com
Following Qatar’s plans to build 1,400 organic farms, comes the announcement that a Jordanian nature reserve will be growing organic crops and medicinal herbs. The farm at the Mujib Biosphere Reserve is spread over 10 dunums and is designed to demonstrate the advantages of growing food using less water and chemicals to the local farmers. Conservationists suggested the organic farm following a decline in the quality and quantity of water in the nature reserve, which is home to over 90 rare plant species and numerous migratory birds.
Project coordinator, Ehab Eid told the Jordan Times that the water resources in the reserve face numerous challenges such as the heavy use of chemical pesticides and water extraction by local farmers. A decline in water is problematic as it negatively impacts species and threatens the nature reserve’s biodiversity.
Eid explained that the organic farm will hopefully raise awareness amongst farmers of the possibility of growing food using environment-friendly methods which don’t risk contaminating the Mujib reserve’s water supplies or depleting it unnecessarily. Conservationists have warned that the diversion of rivers into dams is driving away birds and threatening the future survival of unique fish species in the Mujib.
The Mujib Reserve, which is named after the valley which runs through it, is home to high-altitude summits and waterfalls. It also hosts various seasonal and permanent rivers which enable it to support the diverse flora and fauna (and attract migratory birds) within the 220 square kilometre biosphere nature reserve.
UNESCO declared the Mujib Nature Reserve a biosphere reserve earlier this year in July in recognition of the reserve’s effort to integrate nature conservation and community development. The UN states that biosphere reserves are sites for experimenting with and learning about sustainable development.
The organic farm recently established is no doubt an example of such efforts to promote sustainability by taking the lead and showing that organic farming not only works but that it is also economically sound. The organic farm at Mujib was setup by the Integrated Management of Water Sources in Mujib Nature Reserve Project which is implemented by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature.
:: Jordan Times
: Image via Giam/Flickr.
For more on food sustainability in the Middle East see: