Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Farms for agri-tourism

Five new farms in rural As-Salt join agritourism initiative

Five more farms from the Um Al Amad, Allan, Jalaad and Al Deera villages joined with the Al-Marj Training and Development Company to provide agricultural tourism experiences in As-Salt. It is anticipated that these farms will be ready to receive tourists during the first quarter of 2018. Through agritourism, tourists can enjoy authentic agricultural adventures that allow them to experience firsthand the Jordanian lifestyle on the countryside.

Al-Marj is a non-profit organization that seeks to establish the agritourism concept in Jordan to increase financial opportunities for farmers. With USAID BEST support, Al-Marj is worked to equip the five farms to offer varying services to guests, including accommodations and catering services, agricultural activities such as milking sheep, harvesting and preparing local cuisines with the farm produce.

On the importance of agr-tourism and the opportunities that it provides to local communities, Rudaina Haddad, founder and manager of  Al-Marj said, "For many years I worked as a tour guide and through my experience I learned that tourists look for experiences through which they can get a better picture of the nature of our country’s customs, traditions and local dishes in a way that is not offered through staying in a hotel or going to a restaurant.” She added, “Through our effort to develop agritourism in As-Salt, the local communities began to see the opportunities agritourism provides in terms of generating income and self-employment. This has encouraged more farmers to join Al-Marj to upgrade their farms.”

Al-Marj is also marketing the products of Al-Marjan Cooperative Society, which includes more than 90 women from the governorate of As-Salt who sell their products under the brand BookAgri. These women prepare goods such as seasonal jams, pickled vegetables, olive oil, zaatar, honey and dairy products. The USAID Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project (USAID BEST) supported Al Marj to train women in safe food handling, food preservation, marketing strategies, hospitality skills and other training courses to assist them in marketing the best quality products. Al Marj also organized opportunities for the farmers to participate in local markets such as Souq Jara, Souq Nema, the Amman Summer Festival and a farmers market organized at the Country Riding Center of Jordan.  

USAID BEST provides financial and technical support to the Al-Marj Training and Development Company as part of its efforts to diversify tourism products and experiences in Jordan to attract visitors to secondary tourist sites. In its efforts to provide jobs for the local communities, USAID BEST is developing farm infrastructures by equipping them with furniture and tools needed to offer the best tourism experience.