Introduction

The official procession of the agricultural scientific research started in the Ministry of Agriculture, Jordan, in 1958 with the Scientific Research Department. In 1970, the name of this department was modified to Directorate of Agricultural Research and Extension and it was located in the area of Jubaiha in Amman. In 1985, the research activities were separated from this directorate and the National Center for Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer (NCARTT) was established and located in Ain Al-Basha territory in the Governorate of Salt. This new center was mandated to implement agricultural scientific research and technology transfer at the national level. Several amendments were made in November 2007 by which the agricultural extension was incorporated with the agricultural research in one establishment that was named the National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension (NCARE). Due to this amendment, the extension tasks were transferred wholly from the Ministry of Agriculture to this center. In addition, the former Bylaw related to NCARTT was modified and Bylaw 63 for the year 2007 was issued. It was called "A Modifying Bylaw for the Bylaw of the National Center for Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer." In keeping with demands of farmers and the agriculture directorates, and in agreement with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations Organization and the global orientations, agricultural extension was attached to the Ministry of Agriculture in 2018, and the center was re-named as the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC). Based on that, a bylaw modifying that for the NCARE was issued, which is Bylaw 42 for the year 2018, and which is to be read with Bylaw 42 for the year 1993, and was cordoned the Royal Decree on 6 May 2018.

Since its early beginnings, the NARC aims at utilizing the outcomes of the agricultural research that is developed locally or devised from other sources for the purposes of increasing agricultural production, both plant and animal production, and improving it and its efficiency; (ii) conserving the agricultural natural resources and optimizing their use; (iii) serving the purposes of agricultural development; and (iv) preserving the environmental balance.

The organizational structure of NARC is superintended by the council of this center, whose head is the minister of agriculture, and which includes the general director of the center as deputy of the chief of the council; the general secretary of the Higher Council for Science and Technology; the general secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture; a representative of the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation; a representative of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation; two of the deans of the agricultural faculties in the public Jordanian universities; dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in the University of Science and Technology, chief of the Jordanian Agricultural Engineers Association; chief of the Jordanian Farmers Union, and two persons with specialization and expertise in the agricultural field.

The NARC achieves its objectives through performing its tasks as specified by Article 5 of Bylaw 42 for the year 2018. These tasks are (i) determining, in cooperation with the stakeholders, the priorities of the national agricultural research that serve the agricultural development purposes; (ii) devising the agricultural technology that is appropriate for the local environment and approving it to achieve the optimum utilization of the natural resources; (iii) disseminating the transferred, adapted, and developed agricultural technologies to the related parties; (iv) developing the skills of the people working in the agricultural sector and holding specialized training courses, conferences, and workshops; (v) cooperating with the local, Arab, and international organizations for conducting the agricultural research programs and providing consultations and technical services in the agricultural domain; (vi) performing field surveys of the animal and plant biodiversity with the purpose of preserving them from distinction and extinction; (vii) keeping the plant seeds in the National Seed Bank in the center and supervising them; and (viii) embracing and managing the National Library for Agricultural Information.

The NARC consists of the main center, which is located in the area of ​​Al-Baqaa in the Governorate of Balqa, about 15 km to the north of Amman, in addition to eight research centers covering all regions of the kingdom based on climatic variations. These are:

First, North Region Research Centers:

  1. Ramtha Agricultural Research Center.

  2. Mafraq Agricultural Research Center.

 Second, Middle Region Research Centers:

  1. Deir Alla Agricultural Research Center.

  2. Al-Mshaqar Agricultural Research Center.

 Third, South Region Research Centers:

  1. Al-Rabbah Agricultural Research Center.

  2. Tafila Agricultural Research Center.

  3. Shubak Agricultural Research Center.

  4. Wadi Araba Agricultural Research Center.

Besides, the NARC supervises 15 agricultural research stations distributed all over the country. These are Ramtha Research Station, Maru Research Station, and Ramtha Non-conventional Water Station that belong to Ramtha Agricultural Research Center; Khanasri Livestock Riches and Rangeland Research Station and Khalidiya Saline Agriculture Research Station that belong to Mafraq Agricultural Research Center; Sharhabil Ben Hassna Research Station in the Northern Ghor area, Deir Alla Research Station, and Al-Karameh Research Station, which belong to Deir Alla Agricultural Research Center; Mshaqar Research Station that belongs to Al-Mshaqar Agricultural Research Center; Al-Ghwair Research Station, Ghor Safi Research Station, and Rabbah Research Station, which belong to Al-Rabbah Agricultural Research Center; Shubak Research Station that belongs to Shubak Agricultural Research Center; Wadi Araba Research Station, which belongs to Wadi Araba Agricultural Research Center; and Al-Hussain Agricultural Research Center, which belongs to the main center, i.e., the NARC.

Cadre of NARC consists of what follows:

  1. Forty two researchers holding the Ph.D degree in the fields of agricultural science and agricultural engineering,

  2. Eighty eight researchers holding the master's degree in the fields of agricultural science and agricultural engineering,

  3. One hundred and eight researchers holding the Bachelor's degree in the fields of agricultural science and agricultural engineering,

  4. Three researchers holding the high Diploma degree in the fields of agricultural science and agricultural engineering, and

  5. Four hundred and fifty three support and administrative officers to support the research works whose academic qualifications are the Bachelor's degree and lower.

The NARC is the only governmental agricultural research institution at the national level and is the national umbrella for the applied scientific research and agricultural consultation.

 It is the scientific arm of the Ministry of Agriculture that is entrusted with the responsibility of conducting applied scientific research and providing agricultural consultations. The center is equipped with seven highly-specialized laboratories, which are the soil analysis laboratories, water analysis laboratories, plant analysis laboratories, and plant protection laboratories, which are located in the main center and sub-centers; and the fertilizer analysis laboratory, the microbiology laboratory, and the animal feed laboratory, which are located in the main center. Over decades, it is implementing applied scientific research in various domains, most prominent of which are plant production and protection; animal production and protection; veterinary medicine; climate change; use of unconventional water (e.g., graywater and treated wastewater) in irrigation; water harvesting; genome, biotechnology, and genetic engineering; biodiversity and genetic variations; genetic mapping; selection of varieties and strains (genealogy); and diagnosis of plant and animal diseases, amongst many others.

The NARC is funded from the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture, Jordan, in addition to the projects supported or financed by donors and a number of projects supported by the Netherland government. It attaches great importance to promoting cooperation and exchange of information and experiences with local, regional, and international institutions, and cooperates with numerous academic and civil society institutions as well as with professional associations/corps, Association of Farmers, relevant professional societies, and various international institutions and parties. It is associated with its international counterparts with agreements and memorandums of understanding that contribute to the achievement of its objectives and the development of agricultural research at the national level. The list of the international counterparts with whom NARC holds partnerships includes the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD),the European Commission (EU), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the International Development Research Center (IDRC), the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands  (ACSAD), the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank (WB), the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), the Association of Agricultural Research Institutions in the Near East and North Africa (AARINENA), the Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development (AAAID), the African-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO), the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), and the Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel (OSS).

In other respects, the recipients of the services of NARC are farmers, including the plant production and livestock production farmers; agricultural companies; agricultural and development associations; exporters; olive presses; postgraduate students; and agricultural specialists.