An Israeli regional council and a Jordanian municipality sandwiching either side of the Dead Sea will be coming together to eradicate the huge swarms of houseflies that have overtaken their mutual environment.
In an effort facilitated by regional environmental organization Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME), the Tamar Regional Council in Israel and the South Ghour municipality in Jordan are set to combine their efforts to combat what has become an increasingly troublesome issue during summer months in recent years.
The exceptional concentrations of the flies has prompted the area’s residents to stay indoors for most of the days of the summer, FoEME said. The explosion in fly numbers was caused by the fertilization methods used by Jordanian farmers, whose organic fertilizers attract an abnormal amount of flies, it added.
According to the agreement, which was signed on Tuesday in Tamar Regional Council, Israeli farmers will help Jordanians by passing on skills, knowledge and fertilization techniques dedicated to overcoming the fly problem shared by both sides, FoEME said.
At the same time, a 3-hectare model farm is set to be established in South Ghour, which will serve as a cross-border research center on crop selection, irrigation, fertilization and plant protection.
“This unique project was created through a rare convergence of local interests, of shared agricultural-economic problems disturbing the communities of the region,” said FoEME Israeli director, Gidon Bromberg.
“Under the common need to solve residents’ problems, the project constitutes a bridge of local cooperation that should not be underestimated these days. We hope that the model farm can be the basis of a continuous link between Jordanian and Israeli decision-makers and will greatly improve relations between the two parties at local and regional levels,” he said.
The South Ghour municipality extends approximately 115 km. in the Jordan Valley from the Mujib Bridge in the north to the Al Gheibah area in the south, and contains a population of about 40,000 people, according to FoEME.
Agriculture is popular in the area, and water resources come from the Al Mujib dam and springs such as Al Karak, Al Hesa, Wadi Bin Hammad, Al Numaira, Faifa and Al Naqe.
Tamar Regional Council, situated along the Dead Sea, is bordered in the north by the Green Line, to the east by the Dead Sea, to the south by the northern Arava region and to the west by Arad. With a small population of just around 1,300 residents – but over a million tourists each year – much of the Tamar Region is declared as a nature reserve, and is home to a wide array of flora and fauna, FoEME said.
South Ghour, Tamar Regional Council and Gour Fifa in Jordan have already long been partners in FoEME’s Good Water Neighbors project, which focuses on connecting Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian communities across borders to focus on solving shared water resource issues.
“This project is one of many collaborations we do with our neighbors and friends in Jordan,” said Dov Litvinoff, head of Tamar Regional Council. “This activity indicates a desire for mutual contribution between the parties, and we hope this will serve as a spotlight for future cooperation also on a national level.
I also believe that this project will be a great contribution and significantly improve the output of crops among the inhabitants of the region – Israelis and Jordanians alike.”