Saudi Arabia’s high-tech plan to guard food security

Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadhli speaks during a workshop in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 28 February 2019

Saudi Arabia’s high-tech plan to guard food security

  • Riyadh will host the G20's 15th meeting in 2020

RIYADH: Digital technologies and artificial intelligence will have an increasing role in Saudi Arabia’s efforts to maintain food security, according to the Kingdom’s agriculture minister. 

Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadhli, the environment, water and agriculture minister, told a preparatory workshop for next year’s G20 meeting that Arab and foreign institutions were turning to modern technologies with the aim of finding new food resources. 

The workshop was attended by Fahd Al-Mubarak, secretary-general of the G20 Saudi Secretariat, and heads of global organizations working in the environment, water and agriculture sectors.

Al-Fadhli said that Saudi Arabia was working closely with Arab regional organizations and international groups to guarantee food and water security, and promote sustainable agricultural development and environmental balance.

The agriculture sector faced mounting challenges from climate change and water scarcity, as well as the rising prices of agricultural products, he said.

“We hope this workshop will be fruitful and will lead to practical proposals and recommendations that to respond to these challenges,” he said.

Al-Mubarak highlighted the importance of the G20 in ensuring the health of member populations, addressing financial crises, preserving global food security, conserving natural resources and reducing waste.

Key topics to be discussed under Saudi Arabia’s presidency at the 2020 G20 include development of natural resources to reduce degradation, desertification and climate change, water scarcity, sustainable food security, agricultural systems, the use of technology in agriculture, reduction of food waste, investments in agriculture and low agricultural productivity.

International organizations represented at the workshop included the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development , the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Islamic Organization for Food Security, Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe, World Organization for Animal Health, and the International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas.


Riyadh Season Boulevard zone opens with spectacular parade

Updated 2 min 10 sec ago

Riyadh Season Boulevard zone opens with spectacular parade

  • The Riyadh parade is thought to be the biggest parade in Kingdom to date

RIYADH: More than 1,500 performers and 25 floats took part in a parade and carnival on Thursday night that officially launched Riyadh Season’s Boulevard zone. The crowds that gathered for the fun-packed event were also treated to motorcycle displays, fireworks and other surprises.

The Boulevard lit up at 9 p.m. for the start of the 90-minute event, which featured some of the international artists who will perform as part of Riyadh Season. Afterwards, the zone’s food and drink outlets, outdoor cinema and fountain shows officially opened.

The audience watched the parade, performances and displays from specially constructed stands. Food trucks offered a selection of tasty snacks, and organizers also provided prayer rooms, toilets, first-aid stations and other facilities.


GEA president Turki Al-Sheikh gave an opening speech: “Our dearest people, in the beginning of this season, we welcome you and our guests in Riyadh.

“I want to share a story with you all; once upon a time, I was from a middle-class family. My mother and father would gather both their salaries to have us travel to see the world, and then we would stay in Riyadh for a year. These were our capabilities (at the time) and there was nothing to do in Riyadh. Who would've thought that we’d see all of this in Riyadh, and in our beloved country?

“This wouldn't have been possible without -of course Allah first- a person who has the qualities and vision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

He tweeted: “Riyadh traffic police estimated we have exceeded 600K which means ten times the capacity.”

In addition to the opening-night festivities, the Boulevard zone, which covers 400,000 square meters, will host a wide range of entertainment options and activities for all ages, including the outdoor cinema, restaurants, and sports, music and theatrical events. It has three main venues: The 22,000-seat Mohammed Abdu Theater, the 6,000-seat Abu Bakr Salem Theater, and the 2,000-seat Baker Al-Sheddi Theater.

The parade is just one of more than 100 events featuring local, regional and international performers taking place during the Riyadh Season festival, which continues until mid-December at 12 zones across the city: the Boulevard; the Front; Riyadh Car Show; Winter Wonderland; Riyadh Stadiums; the Diplomatic Quarter; Al-Muraba’a; Al-Malaz; Wadi Namar; Nabd Al-Riyadh; Riyadh Safari; and Riyadh Sahara. It has been organized with the support of Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority and president of Riyadh Season.

The audience watched the parade from specially built stands. (Supplied)

The ambitious 2019 Saudi Seasons initiative, the first of its kind in the region, was launched in February and includes 11 local seasons covering most parts of the Kingdom. Designed to promote the fledgling Saudi entertainment sector and boost tourism, it is attracting some of the biggest names in world entertainment.

The Riyadh parade is thought to be the biggest parade in Kingdom to date. It follows a folklore parade at the Mawtni (My Nation) cultural event in Yanbu to mark Saudi National Day this year, and a parade during the Jeddah Season festivities in the city’s Obhur district.

The parade had a special surprise; the appearance of DJ Carnage who took to the stage dressed in complete Saudi attire and performed his successful electronic show.

The musician also took to Twitter to celebrate the night and how he had had a hand in “making history,” tweeting: “A huge thank you to @Turki_alalshikh  ..... what you did for your country last night... was so special... thank you for having me... we made history.”