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Jordan to use GIS to ensure food security

Jordan: A project funded under North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO) Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, aims to address threats posed by gradually increasing arid and semi-arid lands in Jordan. Researchers working on this project will develop a system to monitor changes in the soil, water, vegetation and climate using remote sensing tools and GIS models. This way, it will be possible to warn the Jordanian government that desertification is taking place, before it is too late to take action.
“If these arid areas desertify, we will have a problem with food security,” said Dr Jawad Al-Bakri, Associate Professor at the University of Jordan’s Department of Land, Water and Environment and co-director of the NATO-sponsored project. Dr Ayman Suleiman, Associate Professor at the University of Jordan’s Department of Land, Water and Environment said, “Less arable land and fewer farmers could also mean decreased food production. As a result of such reductions, food insecurity and poverty will continue to increase.”
Earlier, several studies have shown that Jordan is at risk of rapid desertification. It receives little rainfall, with 90 per cent of the country receiving less than 200mm a year. 
Key decision makers and institutions dedicated to fighting desertification, such as the Ministry of Environment, the National Centre for Agriculture Research and Extension, and the Badia Research and Development Programme, will receive the information collected over the course of the project.
The project will also help build capacity among Jordanian researchers and end users. In the first year of the project, young researchers and scientists received training on instruments used to calibrate remote-sensing data for drought monitoring, as well as on the use of new techniques for desertification mapping and soil-moisture monitoring.
Source: NATO