Kingdom to produce 30,000 tons of algae

Updated 13 November 2013

Kingdom to produce 30,000 tons of algae

Saudi Arabia will be one of the few algae producing countries around the world, with production capacity expected to reach 30,000 tons by 2014, said Jaber Al-Shehri, undersecretary of research and agricultural development at the Ministry of Agriculture.
A promising project to transplant algae in Saudi Arabia aims to secure part of the local and global food requirements for future generations, said Al-Shahri this week.
Marine algae are a new source of fuel and food for mankind and animals, in addition to its contribution to the production of medicines and vaccines.
“The plan is to produce 30,000 tons of algae. The initiative already began this year and will continue until 2029,” said Al-Shahri. “The National Prawn Company started producing small quantities for experimental purposes and quality assurance.”
Ahmad Al-Ballaa, CEO of the National Prawn Company, said costs of the project might reach SR100 billion. “The costs of the research and development phase are SR25 million, and the actual production will commence by 2014,” he added.
He pointed out that the first shipment of the production is designated to German company BASF, which will be during the third quarter of the coming year.
“Several projects for aquaculture in Saudi Arabia and other regions around the world have been adopted to produce fish and sea cucumber,” said Al-Ballaa.
“After the initial stage of research and development we came up with practical and effective solutions for the cultivation of new varieties of algae, which are expected to have a role in bridging the gap in global food security.”
He said the project would be established on the Red Sea coast to the west of the Kingdom. He explained that algae are a significant component of fish and animal feed. They are also a food- supplement and constitute other forms of food for humans, in addition to their use in cosmetics.
“The project of transplanting algae is a part of a whole integrated seafood basket that the company has been working on for years now. The infrastructure of the project includes residential units, a power station and administrative buildings. The project is expected to employ more than 2,800 people, among which are 400 Saudi men and women.


Resumption of international flights draws mixed expat reaction

Expatriate community in Saudi Arabia are waiting impatiently for this good news of flights to resume. (SPA)
Updated 59 min 37 sec ago

Resumption of international flights draws mixed expat reaction

  • International flights to and from the Kingdom were suspended on March

RIYADH: The decision to allow international travel to and from the Kingdom has evoked mixed reactions in the expatriate community.

The decision by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior to allow expatriates who have exit and entry visas as well as visit visas to travel across borders on Sept. 13 came as a relief for many expats who are used to vacationing in their home countries.

Although many are excited about the news as their wait to visit relatives and friends has come to an end, there are others who are opting to stay in the Kingdom, fearful of the return of restrictions — as well as of coronavirus infection in their own countries.

Faiz Al-Najdi, a Pakistani expatriate working as a consultant on a project with the Royal Commission at Yanbu, told Arab News: “It’s a sigh of relief, especially for the expatriates that international flights have been resumed by the Saudi government with certain conditions.”

“The expatriate workers and their families have been waiting impatiently for this good news of flights to resume since they were shut down six months ago,” he said.

International flights to and from the Kingdom were suspended on March 15 as part of preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, but as the situation has improved countries around the world are beginning to open up. Saudi Arabia has also reviewed its coronavirus travel policies, resuming international flights with conditions.

Al-Najdi said: “As I see it there are people with varied opinions. There are families who want to fly back home and are happy to reunite with their relatives and friends; so are those who were stranded in their home countries and were not able to return to the Kingdom. This includes those expatriate workers who wanted to return and rejoin their jobs here.”

However, there are some who were skeptical, he said. “Although they can fly home they want to stay put here as they feel far safer compared to being in their respective countries due to COVID-19 getting out of control back home.”

“In my opinion it’s a good and commendable step by the Saudi government and I welcome this decision,” he said.

Akhtarul Islam Siddiqui, an Indian expatriate in Riyadh, told Arab News: “Even though I love my home country India, as a Kingdom-lover too I prefer to stay with my family here in this pandemic situation. I am more worried for my two daughters who are stranded in India, where the number of cases are among the highest worldwide.”

Rafiul Akhter, an Indian expat who is a finance professional working with the Advanced Electronics Co. Ltd, Riyadh, said: “Living away from family, friends and home country is often the hardest part of being an expatriate. News of the resumption of international flight from Saudi Arabia is a ray of hope to boost my energy levels.”

“The Saudi government handled this pandemic so promptly. I’m blessed to be safe in Saudi Arabia, but on the other hand I am worried about my motherland where my family is facing this pandemic all alone and feeling so helpless that I could not be there to support them,” he said.

“Now that I can travel to my loved ones, there are a few facts that have got muddled in all of the enthusiasm about the conditions of returning to Saudi Arabia that require some clearing up. I hope that in the coming days the confusion is cleared and we, the expats, can plan a stress-free trip to our loved ones,” he said.

Since schools resumed virtual classes after the summer break, many expats have opted to stay for the sake of their children’s schooling and will not travel at least till the winter break. However, it is a good news for those whose family is back in their home country.

Dr. Kifaya Ifthikar, a Sri Lankan doctor in Riyadh, told Arab News: “We are ecstatic to see our fellow Sri Lankan expats returning to our motherland safe and sound.”

“COVID-19 took from us many things that are irreplaceable, but it also gave us the opportunity to realize the little things in life, like being close to family. I am glad that soon they will all be together with their loved ones,” she said.