Entrepreneurial Gardeners Tend to Jordan’s Farms

Some of Jordan’s finest products are agricultural, like olive oil, fruits, and grains. Jordanian crops are carefully tended to and harvested at the perfect moment so people across the country and the region can enjoy them at their peak.

To support this effort, the Smart Desert program funded by Agence Francaise de Developpement, is training specialized Syrian and Jordanian gardeners, or arborists, to work on farms seasonally. Moving from farm to farm, these gardeners are entrusted with providing essential services like grafting and pruning trees.


Our Smart Desert team, which is part of an International Union for Conservation of Nature consortium, is helping 46 gardeners–90 percent of whom are refugees—develop as business owners. Through this pilot project, workers in Mafraq, Zarqa, and Jerash, including Abu Fadi, obtain the technical skills, equipment, and business savvy they need to work year-round.

Abu Fadi is an experienced tree gardener from Syria living in Jordan. Working on olive tree farms, he could usually only tend to 4 or 5 trees a day using his traditional tools. With new automatic tools that he learned to use from Blumont’s agricultural engineers, he can prune up to 45 a day with precision.

man showing other men how to graft a branch

The 46 gardeners, or arborists, received training on grafting fruit trees.

“The Smart Desert project provided us with modern agricultural equipment that helped us increase our productivity and improved the quality of produce,” added Abu Fadi.

The pilot project also addresses the demand for highly skilled workers in the Kingdom’s agriculture sector, especially those who understand the science behind gardening and can use efficient electrical tools. With technical and business training, they can enter the labor market and be competitive.

men gardeners stand under a tree

Syrian and Jordanian gardeners who work seasonally on farms across Jordan learned updated techniques and learned to use electric tools so they could be more competitive in the market.

The arborists are finding stability and work through this program, contributing to the Jordanian economy, and building their own skills and businesses for the future, wherever it may take them.

“I would always say that the amount of time and care you invest into your plants and trees determines how much they will give back to you,” said Abu Fadi.