“Farming is basically good seed and a clean source of water, which is exactly what I received from Al Kifah, RSCN and InvestBank. This has boosted my production by 30% at least.”
Younis Al Momani, or Abu Hassan as he is known by friends and family, is an Ajloun native who owns 13 dunums of land which he farms with the help of his family, including his wife Um Hassan and their two daughters and three sons.
Abu Hassan’s farm is home to thriving orchards that produce olives, apples, grapes, peaches, apricots, walnuts, pine nuts and almonds. He also grows grains, such as wheat.
Abu Hassan has been a member of Kifah Cooperative Society for five years, as of 2014. They used to use traditional farming methods, which he says are similar to organic. However, he now believes in organic farming methods and is committed to following the strict rules that result in his produce being certified as organic.
“The difference with organic farming is that our trees need more attention, because we don’t use pesticides. We make natural pesticides from things such as yeast and sticky objects and we hang them from the branches to attract the pests. The climate in this area is very favorable and doesn’t attract too many pests anyway, so that helps.”
“Kifah are excellent,” says Abu Hassan, “they aren’t just a name. They have a good work ethic and really follow up with us and help us. They understand what we need because they are like us.” Abu Hassan’s farm has been provided with organic seeds and chemical free fertilizer by Kifah. As these products aren’t always readily available in the regular markets, Kifah makes sure to provide its members with the right tools. After losing his greenhouse in a blizzard last winter, Kifah is also providing a replacement.
After participating in a training workshop, Abu Hassan learned how to better market his organic produce. This has helped him sell his produce at a better price. Kifah also helps him to sell his produce in the capital Amman, where there is a bigger market for organic produce.
Ahmad Momani is married with kids and works as a security guard at Al Balqa University. He and his brothers were contacted by Al Kifah Cooperative Society three years ago and asked to consider joining Al Kifah's cluster of organic farmers by converting some of the Momani family’s unused land in Ajloun to organic farms.
Convinced that organic farming was a great idea, and that the extra income from the farms would help support their growing families, Ahmad and his brothers agreed to start growing organic grapes on their unused land and converting their nut-growing orchards from traditional to organic farming methods.
“Since agreeing to go organic, Kifah hasn’t let us down. They are with us every step of the way and provide us with anything we need. Any support they receive they share with members of the Cooperative. So far they have given us a water tank and growing frames for the vines,” says Ahmad.
“Farmers have to be patient, and organic farmers even more so. It takes time for the land to be made ready to use for organic farming,” explains Ahmad. “Now we are growing young grape vines on the frames that were provided. Next year they will start producing grapes and we can begin selling them. Kifah also supports us by buying our produce, marketing it and selling it.”
Working together to tend their shared family land and crops, Ahmad and his brothers are looking forward to reaping the fruits of their labor in the near future.
Mrs. Muntaha Freihat and her family of eight work their family farm in Rajeb village in Ajloun, growing olives, citrus fruits, medicinal herbs, legumes and vegetables.
Freihat Farm is part of the Al Yasmine agro cluster of organic farms. When Al Kifah Cooperative Society joined the cluster in 2013, it brought with it support from the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature and InvestBank. Friehat Farm was one of the first to be provided with organic seeds and saplings, and organic pesticides. Muntaha and her family were also trained on organic farming methods and how to market their farm’s organic produce at the local farmers’ market Souq Al Shams.
“Converting our family farm to organic has helped me to secure an income for my family,” says Muntaha. “The sale of our organic produce has helped me overcome many difficult economic burdens.”
“Farmers have to be patient, and organic farmers even more so. It takes time for the land to be made ready to use for organic farming.”
"Converting our farm to organic has helped me to secure an income for my family. The sale of our organic produce has helped me overcome many difficult economic burdens."