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Fighting flies in Ghor.

By Ebtihal Mahadeen You have probably heard about the notorious flies in the Jordan Rift Valley, or Ghor as it is commonly known. This predominantly agricultural area has long been plagued by excessive swarms of flies, known to be a hassle to locals and visitors, and a possible health hazard. In a bid to combat the flies that infest the area, the Ministry of Environment (MoEnv) has recently announced a campaign to ban the use of all unprocessed organic fertilizers in Ghor. AoStudies conducted by MoEnv revealed that the use of unprocessed organic fertilizers is responsible for the great number of flies in the location,Ao said Issa Shboul, spokesperson of MoEnv. AoFarmers in Ghor still use primitive ways to fertilize their lands, they collect organic fertilizers and drench them with water, thus providing a rich environment for flies to reproduce in large numbers,Ao Shboul told The Star. The campaign took effect starting August 15, supported by the ministries of Agriculture, Health, and Finance, as well as the Environmental Rangers Directorate. AoResidents of Ghor received the campaign with enthusiasm,Ao said Minister of Environment, Khaled Irani, in a meeting with the special campaign committee, adding that AoMoEnv will construct more fertilizer processing units in Ghor to meet the farmersAAE demand.Ao AoSix major organic fertilizer producing farms have installed processing units to comply with the MinistryAAEs directives,Ao MoEnv spokesperson revealed to The Star. AoWarehouses were also constructed in Deir Alla at the cost of JD35,000 in order to store the processed fertilizers,Ao he added. Colonel Odwan Al-Odwan, head of the Environmental Rangers Directorate, revealed the steps taken to support the campaign: AoSixty vehicles carrying 250 tons of unprocessed organic fertilizer were intercepted in the first week of the campaign and their loads confiscated, to be sent to Deir Alla plant for processing.Ao AoThe Rangers Directorate will continue to monitor the area and to make sure the directives of the Ministry of Environment regarding this campaign are adhered to,Ao Odwan added. AoThe Ministry confiscates unprocessed organic fertilizers on their way to Ghor and processes them, and then they are made available to farmers,Ao Shboul revealed. AoSolar sanitization of organic fertilizers boosts their economic value while at the same time killing any insects that may reproduce in that lush, nutrient-rich material,Ao he noted. AoWe have requested that major farms in Ghor construct their own processing units in order to cut costs and meet the local demand,Ao Shboul remarked, adding that Aoprocessed fertilizers are sold to farmers and not given for freeAo. Necessary as it may be, the campaign met with resistance from some Ghor farmers who protested the ban of raw organic fertilizers. Misleh Hamdan, speaking to ad-Dustour daily newspaper on behalf of Jordan valley farmers earlier this month, said that Aothe decision to ban organic fertilizers is unfair since the alternative was not made readily available before the start of the agricultural season. As such, farmers were unable to prepare for the season or to meet their needs of fertilizersAo. Despite the confiscation of fertilizer smuggling vehicles in the Jordan valley area, Hamdan stressed that Aothere is no way MoEnv can prevent the farmers from obtaining organic fertilizers, since this is the backbone of their livelihood.

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Publication:The Star (Amman, Jordan)
Date:Sep 7, 2009
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