More than 40 farmers and their staff were trained on 14, 15 and 16 January in Jordan Valley, Greater Amman Highlands and the Northern Highlands. Nearly all partner farmers made time to discuss amongst each other, and to learn from senior agronomist and expert on fertilization practices Mr. Herman de Putter from Wageningen University & Research (WUR). The main goal was to start discussing and improving soil preparation and current fertilization practices. The topics were relevant for both farmer groups as most farmers in Jordan Valley are starting their second or third plantation of vegetables in the current season, and Highlands farmers have just ordered their transplants for the upcoming season.
The local project team welcomed the partner farmers and their staff, as well as potential partner farmers who were brought along to the trainings. It was explained that regular attendees who attend more than three out of five training courses will receive an official certificate from WUR, mentioning their attendance and the subjects on which they have been trained. For the partner farmers in the Highlands trainings, partner farmers were encouraged to bring a potential farmer for the pilot activities in the upcoming season.
Mr. de Putter started the one and a half hour trainings by asking the partner farmers how they prepare their fertilization strategy. Most farmers admitted to not knowing what their soil contents are. Instead, the most common practice in Jordan is that agricultural input suppliers advise the farmers which fertilizers to use, without knowing the soil or water contents. Mr. de Putter then explained how farmers can grow a healthier crop, save money and get a higher quality product by working with a matching fertilization program, on the basis of soil and water analyses.
Mr. de Putter explained that already 7 of our 14 partner farmers in Jordan Valley are implementing the regional fertigation strategies for sweet pepper, cucumber and tomato that have been created by WUR and that other partner farmers are invited to try these strategies too.
Throughout the training, questions were raised by the group of curious trainees. The farmers started opening up about their own fertilization practices and discussing the difficulties they had with soil borne diseases and their own fertilization program. Mr. de Putter made clear that there is no magic in properly fertilizing. It mainly depends on understanding what the crop needs throughout its lifecycle, the available nutrients, the amount of dissolved salts, and the soil salinity in the water and soil.
Most trainees were eager to continue discussing their fertilization practices and to know their soil contents. To complete the training module on improving fertilization practices and to give the farmers a chance to learn how to analyse their own soil contents, Mr. de Putter will therefore be giving his second training on this topic this February in Jordan Valley and March in the two Highlands areas. As is custom, the next training events will again be organized at a partner farm location.