Labor shortage hits farm harvest

Updated 14 November 2013

Labor shortage hits farm harvest

Rain signals the start of the harvest season in Hail, Jouf, Baha and other areas of the Kingdom, but the farming sector is facing an acute shortage of farm laborers in the aftermath of the crackdown on visa violators.
The harvest season is time-bound and the scarcity of farm hands is delaying the process.
Additionally, imports of fresh produce from neighboring countries have fallen, resulting in a rise in prices.
Expatriates have dominated the farming sector in the Kingdom for years but because of the recent clampdown on illegal workers, it is becoming difficult to procure enough laborers to work on the farms.
Farming is a demanding occupation and is mainly done by the foreign labor force, which lives on the farms itself. Controlling the irrigation system, spraying pesticide and keeping a vigil on birds are only a few of the challenges of the farming sector.
Most expatriate workers who arrived in rural areas to work on farms escaped from their sponsors and moved to the large cities of the Kingdom such as Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam to work in the more lucrative construction sector.
Farm-related sectors have also been adversely affected by the scarcity of manpower.
Many workshops for tractor repairs, water pumps and shops selling landscaping equipment and water supply pipes have closed down.
Mohammad Sabiruddin, an Indian expatriate in Hail who has been manning a mechanical workshop dealing in farming equipment for the past 32 years, told Arab News that the harvest season is dull because most workshops are closed and the workers are staying away from work.
Mohammed Javed, a Pakistani expatriate who works on a vegetable farm in Tabuk said: “There is a shortage of labor so we can’t do a lot of farming activity even though this is the peak harvest time.”


Riyadh roads turn green as world’s largest urban greening project branches out

Based on experience, roads and streets without trees contain eight to 10 times the amount of dust compared with streets lined with trees on both sides. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 03 August 2020

Riyadh roads turn green as world’s largest urban greening project branches out

  • Capital gets a facelift as Vision 2030 program works to plant 7.5 million trees
  • Most of the tree species used in the project are from a well-developed local environment with low agricultural service and care

RIYADH: The Green Riyadh project, one of the world’s largest urban greening initiatives, is rapidly bearing fruit as it transforms main roads in the capital.

Major thoroughfares, including King Khalid, Makkah and King Salman roads, are getting a facelift as part of the Vision 2030 goal of improving quality of life in the city.
Dr. Fahad Al-Mana, a professor of Ornamental Plants, Gardens and Green Areas at King Saud University, told Arab News that native tree species being used for the project include Ziziphus spina-christi, Acacia gerrardii and Prosopis cineraria, commonly known as the ghaf tree.
According to Al-Mana, the trees can survive in harsh desert conditions and will grow without intensive agricultural care.
“Most of the tree species used in the planting of the Green Riyadh project are from a well-developed local environment with low agricultural service and care,” he said.
Environmental conditions in Riyadh were taken into account during the tree selection process. The species can grow to a large size in only three years.
“In some locations, they have moved large 3-year-old local trees that were taken care of in plant nurseries to new locations where they are growing successfully,” Al-Mana said.
Green Riyadh will increase the amount of greenery in the city and augment the green cover in the Saudi capital with the planting of 7.5 million trees around the city’s main features and facilities.
The project will reduce the average ambient temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and improve air quality, encouraging people to follow a healthier lifestyle by walking or cycling.

FASTFACTS

• The project will reduce the average ambient temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and improve air quality, encouraging people to follow a healthier lifestyle by walking or cycling.

• The project will maximize the use of recycled water in irrigation works by increasing usage from 90,000 cubic meters per day to more than 1 million cubic meters per day through the construction of a new recycled water network.

• Green space in the city will increase from 5 percent to 9 percent by 2030

“The aim of planting trees in the streets is to provide shade and moderate the temperature, especially in summer, which contributes to the purification of air and reduces environmental pollution by protecting the city from sand storms, winds and dust. In addition, it gives an aesthetic view and the element of nature enters the city and nearby structures,” said Al-Mana.
He added that trees, especially those planted in central street islands, must have long trunks and high branches to avoid hindering the movement of pedestrians and cars. The trunk must measure at least 3 to 4 meters and the size of the trees planted must be proportional to the width of the island.
Al-Mana said green space in the city will increase from 5 percent to 9 percent by 2030.
According to the Green Riyadh website, the project will maximize the use of recycled water in irrigation works by increasing usage from 90,000 cubic meters per
day to more than 1 million cubic meters per day through the construction of a new recycled water network.
Al-Mana said the Green Riyadh project will also reduce carbon dioxide and impurity levels in the city.
“Based on experience, roads and streets without trees contain eight to 10 times the amount of dust compared with streets lined with trees on both sides,” he said.