REINTRODUCING INDIGO

Indigofera tinctoria seeds planted at the Ghor el Safi Women Association garden


Historical and archaeological sources reveal that the indigo blue dye was produced and used in Jordan in ancient times. Indigo bearing-crops were certainly cultivated and harvested in the Jordan Valley and Ghor el Safi in the past, but their cultivation has now been lost. In order to provide the women of Ghor el Safi with new natural dyes for the production of handicrafts , this project is piloting a cultivation Indigofera tinctoria in Ghor el Safi, with the involvement of a group of experts in agronomy and archaeology. The Indigofera tinctoria is an indigo-bearing crop belonging to the legume family; its production could bring multiple benefits to the area of Ghor el Safi, providing a renewable source of income and contributing to the agricultural diversification and biodiversity of the area, as well as enabling rehabilitation of over-used land and soil amelioration.

In the framework of the project, a research study to identify other natural dye plants in the area of Ghor el Safi is being undertaken. Thanks to this study, the women of Ghor el Safi will be able to enrich their product palette with new natural colours.

Experts in diverse fields are working with UNESCO to make this pilot cultivation possible. An expert in agronomy and soil, Dr. Mohammed al Qinna from the Hashemite University of Jordan, will support UNESCO to establish the pilot cultivation in the field and develop best agricultural practices for the women. An expert in the archaeology of Ghor el Safi area, Dr. Konstantinos D. Politis from the University of Athens, will collect historical and archaeological sources related to the cultivation of indigo in the Jordan Valley in the past.

Through this project, the women of Ghor el Safi will be able to use indigo and other new dyes for their creations, introducing new local and natural colours to their palette

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