GreenfieldCities co-organized a day-visit to Mafraq based businesses with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply. The delegation was joined by representatives of Luminus Education, an agricultural consultant of the International Labor Organization and the GreenfieldCities Advisory Board. Goal of the visit was to assess the business challenges and opportunities in Mafraq, in addition to the identification of demand for solutions in the area.
The day started with an introduction about the King Al-Hussain Bin Talal Development Area (Free Zone) by Mr. Khalid Sbihat, site engineer of the area. This is the zone where the Youth Business Campus is going to be located. He explained the various logistics, tax, partnering and regulatory advantages of the Free Zone. The delegation moved on for an inspiring visit to the factory of Petra Co., one of the leading air-conditioning solution providers in the world with a production line in the Mafraq Free Zone, close to the Youth Business Campus. The group discussion with Mr. Ahmad Khamees, director of the Mafraq branch, taught the delegation about the needs, challenges and advantages of being located inside the Mafraq Free Zone. It was also stated that the Free Zone needs more services, such as hospitality, healthcare and housing, exactly what GreenfieldCities is aiming to provide to the area.
The delegation also visited two agro-food companies. At the Mafraq branch of Del Monte we discussed the tomato business and visited the greenhouses to have a look at the production techniques and technologies, such as hydroponics. The branch produces quality tomatoes on a large scale, mainly for export to the Gulf. Lastly, we visited one of the largest mushroom farms in Jordan. The main challenges for these agri-businesses are marketing, low wholesale prices for their produce on the market, a lack of water and high electricity bills.
GreenfieldCities aims to support small- and medium farms in Mafraq to produce higher value crops and products while reducing water usage and other costs. The planned Farmer Field School on the GreenfieldCities Youth Business Campus will give farmers access to knowledge, technology and capital to increase their income and deal with the above challenges.