Sustainable Fodder Crop Production

1- Background and Justification

In its efforts to restore the degraded ecosystems of the Badia rangelands, the Government of Jordan is facing the challenge of providing a stable and sustainable source of fodder to support the grazing herds of the Badia communities so that overgrazing will be minimized and the community based protection of rangelands will be effective. The underlying principle of this project is to establish a long term arrangement for making the fodder available to the herdsmen in the Badia.  Building on the general approach of the CAP, which is based on the community based participation in restoration of the degraded terrestrial ecosystems of the Badia, the project will integrate the concept of watershed management as well as socio-economic incentives, which are the other two directions within the CAP.

Keeping in mind that one of the national legacies of CAP will be to provide sustenance to about 350,000 animals for a long term, through a self-reliant cooperative mechanism, fodder crop production is inevitable for the success of the CAP. In addition, resting of the Badia from grazing will not ensure the required recovery of vegetation in the rangelands.  This is due to the fact that there has been a steady decrease in the rainfall over the years. Therefore, it is vital for the success of the CAP and the whole BRP to secure a sustainable local source of fodder. Following the F4-Panel recommendations, as approved by the Governing Council, and consulting the roadmap in developing the Community Action Plan (CAP) would require securing fodder for most livestock in the Badia. This was clearly pointed as the main lesson learned from the baseline studies conducted in 20009/2010. While the F4 panel recommended that the Badia rangelands should be rested to recover, the project is directly linked to the elements of the F4-Panel recommendations. Therefore, the option of producing fodder crops is adopted by the BRP.

2- Selected Location

Although it is preferred to have the project inside the Badia, however studies showed that there are many limitations to implement an irrigated fodder crop production inside this area. This was clearly indicated by the EIA and socioeconomic study implemented in 2011. The main limitations for implementing the project in Rauwayshid for example are the absence of licensed groundwater wells, the poor soil quality and the harsh environmental conditions. The location of Hadalat was also considered and showed that the needed infrastructure would make the project non-feasible. Other areas inside the Badia were also suffering from the lack of infrastructure and land tenure conflicts. The use of surface water resources was not possible due the small size of dams inside the Badia. The construction of large dams was also non-feasible due to topographic and geological limitations and most important the high cost. Therefore, communication with stakeholders and the MWI showed that it would be more efficient and economic to implement this project in a governmental land by developing existing surface water resources. Raising Wala Dam and producing fodder crops in Jordan Valley was recommended by experts who made intensive studies and ground surveys in year 2013 to identify the options for this project. The Wala dam is currently storing 9 million cubic meters (MCM) for groundwater recharge. The plan is to raise the dam so that the capacity will increase to 26 MCM. The excess amounts will be utilized for irrigating designated JVA lands in the downstream area in Jordan Valley.

 Location of Wala Dam and the JVA designated lands to implement the irrigated fodder crops.
 

A front view of Wala Dam (left) and part of JVA desginated lands for fodder crop production (right).

 3- Workplan and Achievements

The MoEnv and MoWI/JVA signed the agreement “Sustainable Production of Irrigated Forage Crops/Increasing the Capacity of Walla Dam” in November 2013. This proposed project to be implemented by JVA is based on producing 8,000 tons of barley grain in addition to 16,000 tons of straw. The implementation is also based on the involvment of Badia's community through JCC and a suggested water irrigation cooperative. It is worthy mentioning that the designated lands in Jordan Valley are provided with water coming from Wala and Mujib dams. The water is pumped from the Mujib oulet at the Dead Sea to the southern Ghor area. Therefore, this will reduce cost of the project. An added value for the local communities in this area would be the intrusion of new crops that may encourage farmers to adopt them through crop rotations. This will result in increasing fodder production at the country levle. The planned activities of the project agreement will include, in sequence:

  • Conducting detailed EIA and economic feasibility study in years 2014/2015 (Being implemented by private sector through tendering procedure)
  • Following the preliminary study, and in case of feasibility, preparing the detailedtudy report, technical specifications and tender documents for water harvesting (tender document).
  • Implemntation phase by JVA including raising the dam and providing  water and infrastructure needed for irrigating fodder crops.
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