RIYADH, January 10, 2019 – King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia has inaugurated the Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program2018-2025, supporting the Kingdom’s food security initiative.
The program targets eight sectors including smallholdings and traditional agriculture; production, processing and marketing of Arabic coffee; beekeeping and honey production; rose cultivation and marketing; fruit production and marketing; small-scale fisheries and fish farming; smallholder livestock production and rain-fed crops; and. The project will also maximise the use of natural and human resources.
The inauguration ceremony took place on Wednesday, January 9, at Al-Yamamah Palace in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
Abdulrahman Al-Fadli, Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, said that the program would help small producers across the Kingdom and greatly support the country’s food-security initiatives by fulfilling 43 percent of the total food required in target areas, as well as 19 percent of the total food needs of the Saudi Arabia. The program will ensure sustained access to healthy food, while increasing women’s participation in the labour market as envisioned in Vision 2030.
The minister thanked King Salman for supporting the vital sectors, and said his ministry would implement the program through the application of the best global models in agricultural and rural development, in cooperation with more than nine governmental and private bodies, as well as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which will serve as a consultant for the implementation and follow-up phases of the program.
He pointed out that the program, since its adoption with an amount of SAR 8.750 billion in addition to SAR 3 billion from the Agricultural Development Fund, was celebrated by farmers and their families across the regions of the Kingdom due to its social and economic benefits, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) has reported. The ceremony was attended by a number of officials.