National agricultural strategy delayed by water studies report

Updated 19 January 2013
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National agricultural strategy delayed by water studies report

The country’s national agricultural strategy will be approved once a water studies report has been completed, according to Samir Qabbani, a member of the agricultural committee at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry and an agricultural consultant.
The strategy was submitted to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his approval. It is currently being studied by the Supreme Economic Council, according to a report published in a local newspaper on Friday.
Meanwhile, Qabbani said that while fears exist of a hike in food prices in 2013, there was a fall of an average 7 percent in global food prices last year.
Prices fell over the last three months of 2012 especially for sugar, dairy products, oil and grain. He said 2012 prices in general were lower than those of 2011. “This [decrease in 2012 prices] happened despite the fact that there were fears at times last year that an acute global food crisis would occur given rising prices during some periods, but then prices stabilized and started falling,” he said. 
He said that factors affecting prices last year was the global recession, especially in Europe, the stumbling of large economies and the rising unemployment rate. This prevented the expected spike in prices, said Qabbani. However, there are expectations that prices will rise this year by 12 percent in the second half of the year, especially for sugar, grain, meat and dairy products. This would be related to drought and global population growth.  
Prices will rise because food production will not meet the demands of the growing global population, he said. Global production has to increase by more than 50 percent to feed the global population, he added.
According to several specialist studies and recommendations — particularly a recommendation from the Riyadh Economic Forum that was submitted to the government — the issue of a strategic storage of basic commodities should be developed. An independent entity must be created to manage that storage, said Qabbani.
Other ways to improve the economy in line with population growth, he added, include developing methods to market vegetables and fruits, with an entity created for this purpose. There should also be plans to make sure the country’s poultry industry becomes self-sufficient; and to develop the dates sector.  Qabbani said wheat remains a major strategic crop. This sector has been supervised by the Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organization, so the supply of wheat and prices of bread had not been affected.
Another way to ensure a strategic food supply is the implementation of the King Abdullah initiative for agricultural and food investment abroad. The Ministry of Agriculture is now responsible for this with a government company to manage investments abroad in cooperation with the private sector.
      


Digital-screen buses aim to boost Saudi patriotism

Saudi Islamic Affairs organized a wide range of activities, including a display of Saudi leadership’s visuals on digital-screen buses. (SPA)
Updated 25 September 2018
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Digital-screen buses aim to boost Saudi patriotism

  • King Abdul Aziz International Competition for Memorizing the Holy Qur’an” will be held at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah on Oct. 6

RIYADH: To mark the National Day, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs organized a wide range of activities, including a display of Saudi leadership’s visuals on digital-screen buses, as well as cars distributing gifts among citizens and expats in Riyadh and other cities.
Under the directives of Minister of Islamic Affairs, Sheikh Abdullatif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, more than 28 million text messages are being sent through the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) to promote national values.  The move is taken in cooperation with the General Directorate for Scientific and Intellectual Awareness.
Separately, authorities said recently that “King Abdul Aziz International Competition for Memorizing the Holy Qur’an” will be held at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah on Oct. 6.
Commenting on the event, Al-Asheikh praised King Salman for his special care and attention for the competition. Al-Asheikh said the contest it aimed to encourage Muslims to memorize, recite and interpret the holy book. He noted that the ministry has completed its preparations to receive participants for the competition.