According to unsatisfied members of the Jordan Exporters and Producers Association for Fruit and Vegetables, they will stop exporting their products through the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) starting Tuesday if they will not be exempted from exportation fees.
The president of the association, Saadi Abu Hammad, stated that the sector and the municipality had launched a “fruit and vegetable yard” in December, located in downtown Amman opposite the central market for fruits and vegetables. The point of the space was to display goods that are exclusively for export purposes, so that foreign buyers can easily and effectively test whether the produce is up to their country’s standards.
The space was open to individual farmers, exporters, producers and members of the association. A few weeks ago, the government imposed a JD10 fee on every ton of produce displayed at the space. The decision upset the sector as other export-related fees were increased at the same time, according to Abu Hammad.
“For every ton, we pay around JD100 for refrigeration and another JD100 or more for customs, transportation, wages, etc. That leaves us with no profit at all.” the president said. “In other countries, like Lebanon, fruit and vegetable exporters are given incentives. Our connections there tell us that for every ton they export, the government rewards them with up to $100”.
After weeks of complaints from the sector, the Prime Ministry exempted individual farmers from the fees, excluding farmers who own export or import businesses.
The decision came after the association estimated an 80 per cent drop in exports due to what they called “tense” relationships with neighbouring Syria and Iraq, both of whom used to be Jordan’s top export destinations, Abu Hammad previously told The Jordan Times.
The association’s president reiterated their demands by saying, “We understand our country’s financial situation. We do not want incentives. We just do not want additional fees.” He added that the association’s members will start exporting through alternative channels if their demands are not met by Tuesday.