Saudis, Russians enthusiastic about mutual investment in agriculture

Ahmed Al-Rajhi, chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, presents Sergey Levin, Russia’s deputy minister of agriculture, a gift. (AN photo)
Updated 19 December 2017
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Saudis, Russians enthusiastic about mutual investment in agriculture

RIYADH: Sergey Levin, Russia’s deputy minister of agriculture, and his delegation comprising representatives of various Russian companies visited Riyadh on Monday for an enthusiastic discussion of mutual investment opportunities.
Ahmed Al-Rajhi, chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, who welcomed the delegation, called for benefiting from Russian experiences in the fields of technology, food industries, agricultural production and livestock by establishing joint projects and localization of these technologies in the Kingdom, opening grounds for investors in both countries.
Mikhail Mamonov, managing director for international trade promotion from the Russian export center, told Arab News: “Russia is looking forward to maximizing its exports. This is a pivotal moment for our two countries. We need to move beyond the words. I see aspects where we can be proactive, for example the agricultural mission. “Many Arab nations claim to be the gates of the Gulf, but in fact, Saudi Arabia has the key.”
Levin said: “We look forward to more agreements and trade deals in the agriculture and livestock sector, Russia has always been a big agricultural producer; the government supports exporting and marketing Russian products abroad. We are on our way to an agreement. Simply, Russia is the biggest country in the world, the fifth in agriculture; 50 percent of its land is good for farming. Russia has 10 percent of the fresh water in the world, and is considered an agricultural bank. Russian farming is the best economical resource, with a 3 to 8 percent increase yearly.”
Levin also noted the importance of halal products, seeing that Russia will be dealing with a Muslim country: “We have halal products. In Russia, there are 25 million Muslims. We export our halal products to the Middle East.”
Riyadh Al-Khamees, head of the Saudi agricultural sector at the Saudi Council of Chambers, noted that an exchange of trade would benefit both parties, seeing that “during winter, Russia needs vegetables,” and Saudi Arabia could provide these. He also noted that Russia has a perfect environment for planting wheat, and it would help to expand Saudi farming in Russia with the Kingdom providing fertilizers produced by SABIC, with the help of pure phosphate, a mineral readily available in the Kingdom.


Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

Updated 19 April 2018
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Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

  • Winners of first Golden Falcon award will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques
  • Film screenings have been revived in KSA as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 

RIYADH: Saudi films have won awards at an international film festival organized by the Netherlands to coincide with the return of cinema to the Kingdom.

The first Golden Falcon Film Festival awards drew Saudi actors, filmmakers and cinema-lovers to the Netherlands embassy in Riyadh on Wednesday.

More than 30 shortlisted Saudi films were shown at the maiden festival on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Nine films were nominated, with three each in the best film, best script and best director categories. Overall winners were chosen by an international jury headed by Dutch filmmaker Hans Treffers.

Best movie award went to “Mazban.” The other two films nominated in the category were “Tongue” and “Building 20.”

“The Poetess,” “Matour” and “Atoor” were nominated in the best director category with “Atoor” bagging the award.

“Departures,” “Atoor” and “The Remaining” were nominated in the best script category with “Departures” winning the award.

Besides the Golden Falcon trophy, the winners will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques.

Joost Reintjes, the Netherlands ambassador in Riyadh, told Arab News: “We are proud to organize the first Golden Falcon Film Festival here to promote filmmaking in the Kingdom and provide a platform for young Saudi filmmakers to show what they have to offer.”

Film screenings — banned in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s following religious changes in the Kingdom — have been revived as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The return of cinema was heralded with a film screening on Wednesday at a newly built theater at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh. 

Commenting on the lifting of the 35-year ban, Reintjes told Arab News: “That’s Vision 2030 — it is good sign to diversify and develop.

“Although the cinemas in the Kingdom have only been restarted now, Saudi filmmaking has already made a name for itself on the world stage.

“The Saudi film industry will grow very fast. The level of talent is high,” he said.

Mohammed Al-Qass, lead actor from “Departure,” said: “We have been working for this day for years. 

“Saudis with a thirst for cinema were traveling outside the country — now they can enjoy and share the experience in their homeland.” 

Mohammed Khawajah, a Saudi filmmaker and adviser for the film festival, told Arab News: “The idea for this festival came last year when the lifting of the cinema ban was being discussed.

“The Netherlands embassy had this idea about nine months ago; we sat together and planned the whole festival, which was carried out successfully, with hundreds of people enjoying Saudi films.

“We will improve with our next festival, which will have more fun and entertainment,” he said.