Economic Value of Tree Fruit Production in Jordan Valley from a Virtual Water Perspective

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Abstract

The continuous high demand of water resources for agricultural uses in Jordan is leading to a water crisis. A possible partial solution may be to import food which requires large amounts of water to grow instead of cultivating high water consuming crops. Crops such as banana and citrus cause a huge virtual water loss, which can be reduced by cultivating other less water-demanding crops. This paper focuses on analyzing the economic value of cultivating tree fruit from a virtual water perspective. The virtual water calculations in this study depend on the average rainfall, water quota, and the crops' water requirements (CWR). The gross profit to the water use ratio showed that banana has the lowest value 0.085 JD/m(3), while lemon has the highest value 1.65 JD/m(3). The calculations show that the average embedded water in fruits varies from about 470 m(3)/ton for grapes to about 2,500 m(3)/ton for dates. Banana and citrus plantations consume about 21 and 71 million cubic meters (MCM) annually, respectively, which represent about 85% of the total water consumption in fruit tree plantation. The virtual water flow estimation embedded in fruits shows that Jordan imports about 77 MCM per year. However it exports about 29 MCM per year. The results were analyzed from an integrated water resources management (IWRM) perspective. The analysis shows that a way to recover some of the water costs involved in, e.g., banana production would be to increase the fertilizer cost by about 10%. This would double the water cost and increase the banana production cost by about 6.8%. Using this alternative could be a way to better manage the huge losses in virtual water involved in banana production in the Jordan Valley.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Water Engineering

Keywords

  • Crop water requirement, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2021-2034
JournalWater Resources Management
Volume24
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes