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Jordan Food Week a ‘celebration’ of locally sourced food

Local female producers from across the Kingdom rejoiced this week, after seeing most of their production run out at the Jordan Food Week, a weeklong culinary festival which gave them the opportunity to display their homemade products to tens of thousands of Ammanis.

Some 70 home-based businesses and 30 restaurants from all governorates showcased the diversity and wealth of the Jordanian food, attracting over 25,000 visitors through the entire week, according to a representative from USAID Jordan Local Enterprise Support Project (USAID LENS), the organiser of the event.

For Zarqa dairy producer Amal Shalabi, who voiced her eagerness to participate in the festival a day before its launch, she expressed “I hope that this event takes place again next year, as I will participate again without thinking twice.”

“The hype and the atmosphere were amazing and I am so happy to have been part of this national occasion,” Shalabi told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.

The woman was one of the first producers to apply to the festival, which she saw as “the ideal platform” to present her products to new customers and reach new markets. 

Organised to “highlight the diversity and richness of Jordanian cuisine, as well as the traditions that shaped culinary culture in Jordan”, the Jordan Food Week was designated to “significantly increase the profile of and demand for Jordanian, artisanal food and to create new perceptions around Jordanian food among local buyers and the international market”, according to USAID.

“Taking part in such events really helps local businesses and home based entrepreneurs to get known, gain new customers and increase our revenues. This is a real boost for us,” Shalabi highlighted, noting that for exhibitors like her coming from areas outside Amman, this event is an unparalleled opportunity to sell their products to a booming market with a significant customer base.

Producer Sameera Saeed echoed similar sentiments, noting that she was able to sell the whole amount of her products. 

“The event was up to my expectations! It is really a great opportunity for us to showcase our products especially in such huge and big events with so many visitors,” she told The Jordan Times.

As for the participating restaurants, they almost all integrated home-based business ingredients into the meals they sold at the Jordan Food Week, boosting the tasters’ interest in locally sourced products. 

“When customers demand locally-made products, businesses are incentivised to develop new products, improve their quality and create more job opportunities. This is the key to encouraging sustainable economic growth in Jordan’s communities,” remarked USAID Acting Mission Director Nancy Eslick in this regard, noting that USAID supports home-based enterprises at every stage of the process, from product development to distribution, training opportunities, legal consultation, access to finance and linkages with larger markets.

The Jordan Food Week was part of USAID LENS five-year plan to strengthen Jordan’s economy through small business growth in the artisanal food and adventure travel sectors, which already witnessed the support of around 1,200 home-based, artisanal food producers in six governorates across Jordan over the past three years.  

Organised at the Ras Al Ain Hangar under the patronage of the Greater Amman Municipality and Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the event was sponsored by Luminus Technical University College, a USAID statement concluded.