Triple Helix visit to Al Shoubak in the South of Jordan
As part of the OKP Project “Strengthening capacity of TVET teaching & management staff to enhance development & provision of curricula and programs by HEs and TVETs in the Jordanian horticulture sector“, project members Prof. Jamal Sawwan; Dr. Issam Qrunfleh; Dr. Ezz Al-Dein Al-Ramamneh and Eng. Seba Abu Al Ola traveled 250km south of Amman to visit Al Shoubak University College.
Al Shoubak University College used to be the high agricultural school then became a community college and now is a university college under the umbrella of Al-Balqa Applied University (BAU).
It offers several degrees of many professions among which the plant production department which offers two degrees, one is diploma level and the other one is Bachelor level. The number of student in the Bachelor degree is 150 students and those enrolled in the diploma is 30 students.
The area where the University College is located is known for growing apples and stone fruits using underground well water. However, the region faces the major issue of limited water supply as well as severe frost during spring. Other problems are related to management practices (Pest management, pruning, fertilizers, fruit thinning, harvesting and handling).
Purpose of the visit
One of the reasons of the visit to this region was to meet the apple farmers and other stakeholders who are facing these problems. During the visit, the project team was able to tour the facilities of the farmers and explain the purpose of the project and the importance of building partnerships with academia, NGOs and governmental staff. This triple helix approach is of importance to resolve the emerging issues the farmers are facing. The team was glad to receive the acceptance in cooperation of the farmers. The farmers also voluntarily donated several tons of apples to the Shoubak Ladies Charity Association to make vinegar in support for this association. They also shared that they are ready for further support and willing to sign an MoU.
Furthermore, conversations with NGOs were held to explain the importance of the project and the possible benefits to the NGOs in training their people to enhance their skills in horticulture. Also a visit to the Ministry of Agriculture and NARC was organized to talk about how the project supports curriculum development and training in horticultural food chains.
It was a successful trip with among others the following outputs:
- Students will be trained at the university college.
- Signing of MOUs between Al Shoubak University College, NGOs, NARC and farmers.
- Regular meetings between the different parties to evaluate and strengthen ties.
- The university college will offer training on different horticultural topics for both the students, NGOs as well as public at large using the new smart green house to be installed at the college to enhance youth in entrepreneurship.
- Short courses prepared by MSM will be posted online at the University of Jordan website for public use and this has shown high appreciation from all the audience. These short courses will cover full spectrum of horticulture production, management, harvesting and marketing.
- The universities staff from the project will make regular visits to help farmers in solving emerging technical scientific issues especially those facing the students during their training.
To follow up on the fruitful visit the following steps will now be undertaken:
- Preparation of the MoU and get the approval from BAU president to be able to sign it with the farmers.
- Prepare training materials for the NGOs beneficiaries in different horticultural food chain to be offered after establishing the smart green house.
- The University College of Shoubak will nominate a specialist in food science (vinegar, jams, pickles) to supervise the NGOs on these enterprises.
- The University College of Shoubak represented by Dr.Issam Qrunfleh (associate professor of horticulture ) and Dr.Ezz Al Dien Al Ramamneh (associate professor of pomology and biotechnology ) to follow up with the farmers and governmental officials and lead the cooperation.
About the project
MSM,the University of Jordan and consortium partners CINOP, University of Amsterdam, Q-Point, Profyta and Acacia Water capacitate Al-Balqa Applied University, Shoubk University College and Al-Huson University College to contribute to End hunger, double smallholder productivity and income, and ensure the sustainability and resilience of food production systems by 2030 (SDG 2).
Orange Knowledge Programme
This project is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.
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