Souq Al Shams: brought to you by Al Yasmin Organic Farms
Yasmin is the name in Arabic given to flowering plants, and from which the name Jasmine derives. Al Yasmin Organic Farms, otherwise known as the ‘Al Yasmin Organic Agro Cluster’ was established by Al Kifah Cooperative Society in Ajloun Governorate in 2008. Al Yasmin Farm’s main objective is to revive a neglected and almost extinct range of traditional agriculture produce; namely aromatic and medicinal herbs.
Al Kifah Cooperative Society’s goal is to reach out to the whole of Ajloun governorate. With that in mind, in 2010 a cluster of 25 small and micro farms was established with the precise objective of planting and growing medicinal herbs. In 2013, Al Yasmin Farms also expanded to include the Jerash governorate. These farms making up the ‘Al Yasmin Organic Agro Cluster’ aim to achieve the following:
• Increase the production of medicinal herbs to supply increasing market demand. • Contribute to the development of Ajloun and Jerash agricultural and economic sectors. • Secure a regular income for all farm owners within the cluster. • Generate income for Al Kifah Cooperative Society.
Al Kifah’s notion of an agro cluster was brought to fruition through market prospecting. We searched for unused land, approached the owners, and offered them our services which include the following:
• Supply them with plants free of charge. • Give some of them loans to help start up their organic farm. • Offer some technical support/assistance to ensure sustainability. • Purchase products from the farms. • Some farms were already producing their own non-herbal crops, such as fruits and vegetables. Al Kifah managed to convert them to organic farms.
Twenty-five farms forming the cluster, with a total size of around 300 dunums, were converted to organic methods of plantation. The range of produce was also expanded to include the following herbs, vegetables and fruits:
• Thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley • Grapes, apples and figs • Olives and olive oil • Tomatoes, beans, okra, chick peas, aubergine (eggplant), onions, pumpkin, courgette (zucchini), capsicum (sweet peppers), hot peppers