The concluding ceremony was opened by a welcoming speech from the Bani Kinanah Charitable Society Chairwoman Mrs Fatima Obeidat, followed by a presentation by USAID Economic Development Program (SABEQ) on the project. One of the beneficiaries then thanked the USAID and welcomed the guests, and in conclusion a speech by USAID Mission Director was made. The guests were then accompanied in a tour around the herbs and aromatic plants’ nursery which has been established as part of the project, then visited one of the thyme farms, and saw how products are processed and packaged for sales.
USAID’s Bani Kinanah Project targeted the reinvigoration of traditional farming of herbs, medicinal and aromatic plants in Jordan as well as increasing their production since Jordan’s weather and fertile soil form an ideal habitat for their plantation. The fact that these plants are low water consuming plants adds to their being ideal for conditions in Jordan. The popularly known medicinal benefits of these plants increased their value and created an economically viable prospect to be seized.
The Economic Development Program SABEQ supported the Bani Kinanah Women Charitable Association which empowers women in the rural areas. The Association supports women in the area and provides training opportunities that will enhance women’s economic development. Seizing the high market value of herbs and medicinal plants, the Program awarded a grant to the Association a year ago, enabling it to start the project which motivated the women to use agricultural plots of land around their house. Training was also arranged for the women which addressed best agricultural practices, drying the plants, processing, packaging and marketing them.
What adds merit to this project is the expectation that support in its second year will be extended to fifty new women in the area. Once the Project’s first year was over, success was measured in terms of revenues the women made. Each dunom was found to raise from JD 200 to JD 1,300 in revenues depending on the amount of effort put in the work.
“The variance in revenues is due to the amount of effort participants and their families put into the work. But benefits were not limited to profits, as the empowered women compared crops, and were competing between themselves which resulted in putting in more effort and trying to overcome difficulties they faced. The women sent all members of their families to work. Better still, this economic empowerment enhanced their negotiation skills when they sold their products. The work increased their flexibility and confidence and gave them an altogether different perspective.”
The 2011 season is expected to cultivate one hundred tons of these plants, the value of which is expected to reach JD 100,000, benefiting a hundred household in Bani Kinanah. SABEQ Program aspired through supporting this Association to empower the women and optimize the value of their products through processing these herbs, focusing on its packaging in turn increasing its marketing opportunities in the local markets with a view of exporting them at a reasonably high price.
The USAID Jordan Economic Development Program (SABEQ) is a five year broad economic development initiative implemented by Deloitte Consulting LLP and a sizeable team of international and Jordanian partner firms. The Program’s mission is to support sectors and activities in alignment with His Majesty King Abdullah’s vision for a Knowledge-based Economy, by inserting Jordanian enterprises into global value chains, promoting investment, and improving the enabling environment to generate value added jobs, exports, foreign direct investment, and sector revenues as a powerful engine of economic growth.
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