Jordan Bans Chicken Manure as Fertilizer Over Fly Infestation

Tripartite commission sets alternative to substance that has blighted life in Jordan Valley for decades.

Jordan has banned the use of chicken manure as fertlizer, as it has been responsible for widespread infestations by flies for many years on both the Jordanian and Israeli sides of the Dead Sea. In future, Jordanian farmers in the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea area will be required to use only compost.

Chicken manure both attracts and nourishes flies, and the profusion of the insect has been a blight to life on both sides of the border for years. Recently, authorities in both countries teamed up, with the mediation of the environmental organization Friends of the Earth Middle East, to deal with the problem.

FEME, consisting of Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian activists, first examined the option of setting up a plant in the Jordan Valley area that would convert chicken manure to compost - organic fertilizer that does not attract flies.

When that plan failed, FEME approached Jordanian environment minister Khaled Irani, who initiated a directive forbidding the use of untreated fertilizer in the Dead Sea and Jordan Valley region. The directive, which was approved by the Jordanian parliament this month, will come into effect in two months' time.

FEME reported that the recent completion of a compost-production plant in Jordan was what prompted the government to enforce a directive banning the use of untreated fertilizer. The remaining task at hand is to enforce the directive effectively, FEME said.