(Jordan Times ) – His Majesty King Abdullah has instructed the government to reschedule Jordanian farmers' debts and reduce interests on these debts for this year.
In a message to Prime Minister Ali Abul Ragheb on Thursday, the King also asked the government to use part of the funds allocated for the social safety package plan for micro-finance projects.
"As you know our country has witnessed drought over the past three years and it largely affected farmers, thus posing threat to a main sector of our national economy and making it imperative on us to help them to overcome the negative impact of the drought," the King said in the message.
"The past three successive years of drought which resulted in adverse effects on the agricultural sector should prompt the government to take swift and effective measures to help the farmers to pursue their work and overcome the present difficulties, as they are a dear sector of society and the source of pride for us for their adherence to the land which is dear to us all," the King said.
While on a visit to Bani Hamida tribe on July 2 King Abdullah listened to farmers' complaints as presented by Deputy Mansur Ben Tarif, who represents the Bani Hamida district in the Lower House of Parliament.
Ben Tarif told the King that the Kingdom's agricultural exports had shrunk by 50 percent while the agricultural sector's contribution to the GNP stood at four percent despite the fact that at least 30 percent of the population work in agriculture.
"The farmers debts are accumulating because they are unable to pay back loans and they hope that Your Majesty will intervene and alleviate their suffering and scrap the interest on these loans which were taken out during the 1990-1999 economic restructuring program," said Ben Tarif.
In his message to the prime minister, King Abdullah said: "I see also that the government should allocate part of the funds earmarked for the government-sponsored social safety plan to finance microprojects in the governorates which have been deeply affected by the drought to be implemented under the supervision of governors and their development councils." Expressing appreciation of the government's performance King Abdullah said he hopes that these directives be implemented as soon as possible.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )