Adopting Hydroponic Technologies
With the majority of farmers using tunnel greenhouses that provide limited options for climate control and pest management, HAED-Jo introduces innovative hydroponic farming techniques to local producers for sustainable and efficient agriculture. This approach empowers growers to utilize contemporary practices in water smart technologies to ultimately generate higher quality yields, meet market requirements and compete with regional and international producers.
Advantages of Hydroponic Farming:
- Increases water use efficiency
- Limits use of pesticides
- Healthier growth rate and Extended production seasons with higher quality of produce
- Climate Control: crops can grow anywhere at anytime
- No chemical weed products are needed
Through the adoption of hydroponic farming solutions, we are transforming Jordan’s horticulture practices and utilizing methods suitable for Jordan’s arid and semi-arid environments. The Hydroponic farming solution demands lower physical activity which will encourage Jordanians to work in the sector. Also, this new technology will support creating new business partnerships to fill the existing gaps in value chain of the hydroponic industry.
Designing solutions for both production and post-harvest is driven by traditional and new markets and available market windows, farmers’ ability to invest, and capacity of farmers to implement and operate these solutions. HAED-Jo is directly contributing to the sector’s sustainable growth while overcoming the national water shortage challenges (with 40-80% potential saving in water usage).
To initiate the activity, the project completed a farmers’ needs assessment and identified, based on set criteria and defined incentives, two eligible and committed growers who would become the ‘early adopters: Abu Sido and Al-Jabali Farms. Thereafter, the HAED-Jo team developed a technical design of the greenhouse solution in consultation with each grower.
Similar to other countries, the development of hydroponic greenhouse technologies in Jordan will encompass a wide range of technologies and systems. The project aimed to implement configurations and designs of greenhouses in two distinct climate zones: the Jordan Valley and the Highlands. The farm conditions, water quality, and market windows differ in each location, and therefore, they will both require specific tailored solutions.
Through the help of various Dutch and local suppliers, HAED-Jo successfully installed two advanced, fully operational multi-span greenhouses with Abu Sido and Al-Jabali Farms. As a result of the installed hydroponics farming solutions in tandem with the multi-span greenhouse at Abu Sido and Al-Jabali farms, we have introduced a comprehensive cultivation process which utilizes a strict checks and balances framework that significantly improves agricultural outputs.
Abu Sido Farms
Abu Sido farms were established in 1970 as a family business, owned by Hassan and his sons, started with a single tunnel greenhouse and now spans 1500 single tunnels and 150,000 square meters of open field. The farms produce mainly vegetables and are expanding to fruits. Abu Sido is also a community leader in the farming field and a training hub for other farmers that provides knowledge and expertise on good farming practices, which leads to and contributes to food security and water saving through innovative technologies and demonstrations.
Abu Sido farms were keen to continue expanding both the quality and quantity of their produce, and therefore, HAED-Jo has supported them in installing an advanced, state-of-the-art greenhouse and hydroponic system for the tangible benefits it will have on their crop. The greenhouse includes climate control and the use of hydroponics to grow a variety of cherry tomatoes. The multi-span greenhouse was built to produce different varieties of cherry tomato in Rockwool media. Rockwool is one of the most common growing media used in hydroponics.
The construction work of the multi-span took nearly five months and it started with land leveling to get the required slope for the construction of the steel structure and the cover. The multi-span area is 7.056 m2, consist of 14 spans, each span has a dimension of 9.6 m as a width and 52.5 m as a length. The height of multi-span to the gutter is 6 m and to the peak is 8.7 m.
Al-Jabaly company, established in the 1970’s as a family business, is considered one of the biggest companies, farmers and exporters in the field of agriculture in Jordan. It is an authorized distributor of agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and machinery. Al-Jabaly is also an authorized agent for an international plant breeding company, and holds a certificate of export. The company grows several vegetables and stone fruits, and exports its produce to European, Russian and Gulf markets. The farms utilize post-harvesting Facilities and depends on good water quality for the irrigation of the crops.
HAED-Jo supported Al-Jabaly in installing an advanced, state-of-the-art greenhouse and hydroponic system with an area of 7.2 dunums to produce different varieties of cherry tomato and peppers in coco-peat media. Coco peat is an ideal growing medium that consists of fibrous coconut husks and holds water exceptionally well while still promoting good drainage and ventilation.
The construction work took nearly 7 months and started from the land levelling to get the required slope for the construction of the steel structure and the cover. The multi-span greenhouse consists of 14 spans with each span holding a dimension of 9.6 m in width and 54 m in length.
To date, HAED-Jo has supported a total of 10 leading, medium and small farmers in adopting new hydroponic technologies and advanced greenhouse installations including Ayed Shakhanbeh, a dedicated Jordanian farmer and owner of Tala Farms. Shakhanbeh has been farming since the 1960’s and has been looking for ways to adopt new farming techniques in order to keep up with the evolving demands of the horticulture business and increase yields. For that reason, HAED-Jo has supported Tala Farms in building six new tunnel greenhouses with hydroponic systems. The greenhouses are primarily planted with lettuce but also contain other crops such as kale, celery, broccoli and green onions. As a result of this support, Tala Farms has yielded nearly half a million of lettuce heads annually and recently became a viable supplier to key establishments and hotels in Amman, Irbid and Aqaba.