Agriculture still plays a role in the economy, although 40% of the usable land consists of the West Bank, lost to Jordan since 1967. As of 1998, only 4.4% of all land in Jordan was utilized for crop sown feed production. Rain-fed lands make up 75% of the arable land, while the remaining 25% is partially or entirely irrigated and lies mostly in the Jordan Valley and highlands. While the system of small owner-operated farms, peculiar to Jordan among the Arab countries and originating in the Land Settlement Law of 1933, limits the number of large landowners and share tenancy, the minuscule holdings have inhibited development. Agriculture accounted for 4% of GDP in 2001.
Production of principal field crops in 1999 included wheat, 12,000 tons; barley, 5,000 tons; and tobacco, 2,000 tons. Prominent vegetables and fruits produced in 1999 included tomatoes, 305,000 tons; eggplant, 16,000 tons; cucumbers, 74,000 tons; cauliflowers, 26,000 tons; and cabbages, 28,000 tons. Over 16 million fruit trees that year produced 114,000 tons of citrus, 55,000 tons of olives, 73,000 tons of bananas, and 15,000 tons of grapes. The output of fruits and vegetables has been encouraging, in part because of increased use of fertilizers, herbicides, and plastic greenhouses by the nation's farmers in the Jordan Valley.
Irrigation schemes and soil and water conservation programs have received emphasis in Jordan's economic development. The 77-km (48-mi) East Ghor Canal, substantially completed in 1966 and reconstructed in the early 1970s after heavy war damage, siphons water from the Yarmuk River and provides irrigation for about 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres). Water conservation in other areas has been undertaken with the rehabilitation of old water systems and the digging of wells. As of 1998, an estimated 75,000 hectares (185,000 acres) were irrigated.
The cooperative movement has made progress in the agricultural sector; the Central Cooperative Union, established in 1959, provides seasonal loans and advice to local cooperatives. The Agricultural Credit Corporation, founded in 1960, provides low-cost loans to finance agricultural investments.