2 HGFI is a three year project funded by USAID with the following objectives: Introducing hydroponic “soilless” culture as an alternative to traditional farming systems.Introducing this new technique to produce high value crops.Introducing Photovoltaic systems as alternatives to electricity and fossil fuel as energy sources for hydroponic farming.Working on commercial and Household levels.Train farmers and HH members on soilless culture.Disseminate the concept through the different outreach activities.
3 Project findings through year 1 For hydroponic farmingWith the water crisis in Jordan, such techniques would minimize the water consumption and maximize the productivity of certain crops.Very few farmers are adopting hydroponic technique. Mainly strawberry farmers are the pioneers…..why?Reduces soil problems effectIncreases land use efficiency (more than one layer)
4 Vegetables’ farmers are looking forward to start hydroponic, but Vegetables’ farmers are looking forward to start hydroponic, but !!?? - High capital investment vs marketing and export. - know how and local technical support availabitiy !!!Water quality in some areas affecting the adopting of hydroponic farming where very good qualities are needed for successful hydroponic farming.Marketing obstacles and unstable regional condition affect the Ag sector negatively.
5 For PV use Energy needs are still limited (irrigation pumps only). High initial costs of the PV systems in large scale farms for other purposes like cooling and storage.climatic zones in Jordan are encouraging farmers to select different zones for continuous production benefiting from the natural warm/cool weather.
7 Demonstration sites Year 1 ZarqaAmmanIrbedMadaba
8 Irbed Bani Kananeh site - Thyme production Crushed volcanic rocks media - Drip (top Feeding) hydroponic system - Higher planting density - Better production - Cleaner plants - Lower input costs (JD/Kg) - Final cost/benefit analysis to be introduced by the end of the season.
10 Zarqa site Lettuce production Raft hydroponic system Higher planting densityBetter productionCleaner plantsLower inputs costs (JD/Kg)Problems in early bolting to be addressed in the current cycleFinal cost/benefit analysis to be introduced by the end of the season.
12 Madaba HH site Cherry tomato, bell pepper and tomato production Crushed volcanic rocks (Tuff) mediaTop feeding hydroponic systemVery high quality produceMarketing constraints affected the produce prices and resulted in higher costs than revenuesDemonstration was stopped upon HH owner request
14 Amman Site Drip (top feeding) hydroponic system 2 GH to produce tomato and bell pepperTuff mediaProblems in the fertigation processHigh quality and low quantity produceCrops selected for this site were unable to compete with traditional farming systems
16 Lessons learned from Year 1 Hydroponic farming is a high capital production systemAdded value is the driving force for adopting hydroponics, such asHigher density plantationsWater circulation to save water and other inputsProducing during off seasonsHigher quality and higher profitTechnical assistance and support is needed.
17 International experiments might not be applicable locally due to immature hydroponic farming supply chain, in addition toProduce prices are much higher, investment payback is guaranteedFully controlled GH’s are very expensive (initial and operational costs)Soil plantations in Jordan are performing very well (quality and quantity) and highly competes hydroponically produced vegetablesPV is the future of energy, high initial cost works as a barrier for cooling/heating even for large investors
18 Way forward Address challenges the project faced during year 1 Introduce new fertigation and circulation techniquesIncrease the demonstration sites to cover more areasDeep and careful crop selectionLinking producers with market channelsLinking producers with financing schemes to overcome the initial cost obstacle.