Northern Badia - Jordan -

Women's joint efforts brought together the women of the Northern Badia of Jordan and Syrian refugees to work in pilot projects that include greenhouses specialized in modern agriculture.

These greenhouses produce vegetables, herbal and medicinal plants, based on small amounts of water, and an alternative soil consisting of volcanic tuff stones or crushed palm fronds.

These products are environmentally friendly and healthy, because chemical pesticides are not used in spraying them, and there are no diseases that may be transmitted to plants from normal soil, and they save about 80% of the quantities of water used in field cultivation with normal soil.

Workers in the pioneering agricultural project in the northern Badia in the Umm Al-Qattin region (Al-Jazeera)

Project start

10 years ago from the home garden, with a small agricultural area and a simple plastic house, the idea of ​​the hydroponics project began with the head of the “Jaffna” charity association in the Umm al-Qattin area in the Northern Badia, Nadia al-Faqir, who created her own project to grow different types of weeds, green onions and lettuce.

The idea of ​​the project was developed by Nadia Al-Faqir, so she, in cooperation with women from the local community, rented a plot of land adjacent to the village, and built 4 greenhouses to grow them using modern methods.

It also began more than two years ago to teach the willing women of the local community and the Syrian refugees residing in the area methods of modern hydroponics and plant care at the "Jafna" Charitable Association.

Because of the scarcity of water in the Badia regions, the poor started their hydroponics project by building plastic-coated basins to isolate them and prevent leakage, and then fertilizing those basins with the nutrients necessary for plants, then planting the surface of those basins with plastic plates with holes in which the cups of plants are placed submerged in water.

Northern Badia women more than two years ago began learning modern hydroponics methods and taking care of plants (Al-Jazeera)

water recycling

In order to provide additional quantities of water, Al-Faqeer, with the help of international institutions, established a gray water treatment plant and restarted it. The idea of ​​the project is to recycle and exploit the quantities of water used in laundry, kitchen and laundries.

That used water is transferred to a large basin containing layers of small stones and sand, in the middle of that basin is a plastic tube in which the treated water is collected and then transferred through a pump and collected in barrels for reuse in watering fruit trees such as grapes, pomegranates and figs found in the village.

clean energy

In order for the project to be environmentally friendly and free of any pollutants, a solar power plant was equipped to run it with clean energy by installing solar energy cells and batteries to store that energy for use in composting machines when needed.

The water that nourishes the plants, according to the engineer supervising the project, Hazem Al-Braihi, is fertilized through an electronic system for the agricultural units.

The agricultural units contain special electronic sensors that send signals to the computer when a specific nutrient deficiency in the water leads to damage to the crops. The computer, through the electronic connection, pumps quantities of these nutrients to the concerned agricultural unit.

Engineer Hazem Al-Braihi: Fertilize water that nourishes plants through an electronic system for agricultural units (Al-Jazeera)

Save 80% of water

Al-Braihi told Al Jazeera Net during a tour of the region that the project is an integrated environment-friendly, so there is no use of chemical pesticides, whether by spraying or watering, and the water used in agricultural basins is re-refined and recycled, in order to preserve the quantities of water used.

The project provides 80% of the quantities of water used in agriculture - according to Al-Burihi - compared to traditional crops in ordinary soil, as well as the safety of food produced in those ponds from any fungi, insects or diseases that may be transmitted to food from the soil.

Al-Braihi added that the most important challenges facing the project are the scarcity of water in the Badia regions, the high prices of water purchased from artesian wells in the region, the high costs of production requirements such as plastic materials, fertilizers and seeds, and the high costs of transporting vegetables to central markets in neighboring cities and governorates.

The production of greenhouses is transferred to local markets in the neighboring city of Mafraq or to the central vegetable market in Amman, or is exported to neighboring countries, according to Al-Braihi.

Syrian refugee Heba Al-Zoubi has been working on the project almost daily since its inception (Al-Jazeera)

financial income

Among the seedlings of herbs and lettuce, the Syrian refugee Heba Al-Zoubi, who has been working in the project since its inception, has been moving almost daily. She tells Al Jazeera Net that the work provided her with a stable source of income, and contributed to improving her living income and feeding her family, as well as her gaining experience through courses. Your training in hydroponics.

As for the forties, Jamila Kassab leaves every morning for the hydroponics project to inspect the crops of thyme, lettuce and onions.

"I used to work in the cultivation of grapes and olive figs, sheep and poultry, and manufacture milk, cheese and ghee. When the hydroponics project was opened, we underwent training courses by specialists on how to deal with plants and grow them in the cups designated for that, and take care and care of seedlings," she says.

The hydroponics project provides a source of financial income for local community women and Syrian refugees working in the Badia regions, which are among the poorest regions in the Kingdom.