Saudi Arabia’s food security strategy overcame global supply crisis, says ministry

Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, Saudi minister for environment, water and agriculture
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Updated 23 June 2020

Saudi Arabia’s food security strategy overcame global supply crisis, says ministry

  • Coronavirus outbreak has severely affected supply chains

JEDDAH: The Kingdom’s food security strategy succeeded in overcoming the global food supply crisis caused by COVID-19, according to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA).

“Despite the severity of the coronavirus pandemic crisis and its severe impact on the food supply chains in the world, the Kingdom has overcome this crisis through the strength and durability of its food and agricultural security,” said the minister for environment, water and agriculture, Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli.
He praised citizens’ awareness for their responsible shopping and trust in the Kingdom, which helped to replenish food supplies.
He also credited the efforts and cooperation between the MEWA and the private sector for raising production and marketing efficiency.
“It all goes back to Saudi Arabia’s increase in lending volume to Saudi farmers, SR1.9 billion ($506.67 million) in 2019, which has helped the agriculture sector prosper. Today, the Kingdom has one of the largest storing capacity in the Middle East for wheat and flour, with more than 3.3 million tons. We also have trustworthy food supply chains capable of daily production that can satisfy consumers at international standards.”
He said that the Kingdom had also achieved unprecedented levels of self-sufficiency in many agricultural products such as dates, where it surpassed 125 percent, 60 percent in vegetables and poultry, 55 percent in fish, 116 percent in eggs, and 109 percent in milk.
The Kingdom on Sunday entered its third phase of lifting curfew restrictions, with businesses and people returning to pre-lockdown activities, resulting in several inspection trips from different authorities.
According to Al-Ekhbariya, the Eastern Province’s municipality carried out 585 trips aimed specifically at barbershops and women’s beauty salons to ensure their adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures.

The Kingdom has overcome this crisis through the strength and durability of its food and agricultural security.

Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, Saudi minister for environment, water and agriculture

There were similar efforts in Riyadh, where authorities supervised cab service providers and the safety measures in place for drivers and passengers in vehicles. Cinemas have resumed operations, but under tight regulations and with limited capacity.
The Kingdom on Monday recorded 40 new COVID-19-related deaths, raising the total to 1,307.
There were 3,393 new cases reported, meaning 161,005 people have contracted the disease in Saudi Arabia. There are 54,523 active cases, 2,045 of them are in critical conditions.
According to the Health Ministry, 438 of the newly recorded cases were in Riyadh, while Jeddah recorded 388 and Makkah recorded 269.
The ministry also said that 4,045 more patients had recovered from coronavirus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 105,175.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted more than 1.3 million tests for COVID-19.

Future Hospitality Summit: Adventure travel weathers coronavirus pandemic

Updated 26 October 2020

Future Hospitality Summit: Adventure travel weathers coronavirus pandemic

  • Hospitality industry leaders and experts were discussing COVID-19 impact at virtual event hosted by Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Although the global travel and tourism industry is still reeling from the negative effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, adventure travel in particular is holding up.

“Adventure travel, which has been a booming industry, remains one of the resilient categories,” Alex Dichter, a partner at McKinsey and Company, said during the virtual Future Hospitality Summit on Monday.

Dichter explained the correlation by saying that adventure travel involved trips like “bucket list” experiences, and “COVID-19 has reminded people around the world that life is short.”

The management consulting expert likewise identified other global travel trends during the event hosted by Riyadh to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the G20.

For instance, international destinations closer to people’s home countries are increasing in popularity, akin to domestic travel, as COVID19-related movement restrictions beyond national borders remain in place.

In general, travel interest dropped nearly 40 percent globally, but all regions — apart from the UAE — have witnessed a gradual recovery since July and August. The summer months are considered off-season for the Gulf country, and the trend has not changed this year, Dichter said.

Despite decline and recovery levels remaining mostly uniform across Europe, Asia Pacific and North America, volatility nonetheless remains high when measured at a country level, he said.

Hotel occupancy also remains lower by 34 percent globally, but only 20 percent in China, compared with the same time frame in 2019.

Several speakers, meanwhile, said that global travel was severely affected by movement restrictions and some COVID-19 measures, such as mandatory quarantines.

“When there are quarantine measures in the destination or the home country, the percentage of bookings drops by 100,” said Alexander de Juniac, the CEO and director general of the International Air Travel Association.

De Juniac suggested the implementation of rapid COVID-19 testing as a safe alternative to mandatory quarantine periods in order to stimulate travel activity.

Gloria Manzo, the CEO and president of the World Travel and Tourism Council, meanwhile, suggested that countries needed to decide who to quarantine based on individual COVID-19 test results rather than imposing broader rules based on nationality, or color-coding countries according to safety levels.

As for the global recovery of the tourism and travel industry, Manzo said it would depend on the levels of international cooperation.

“We can have an 18 month recovery or a 3 year recovery period, depending on the coordination of stakeholders,” she added.

Meanwhile, officials from Saudi Arabia discussed the Kingdom’s efforts to boost the tourism industry.

Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said the country was working to develop the Red Sea coastline to attract more people.

“Last year we had more than 10,000 visitors discover historical sites,” Al-Khateeb said during the summit.

Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of Ad Diriyah Gate Development Authority, added that the Kingdom had spent 25 years restoring the UNESCO World Heritage site to support the contry’s tourism industry.

“We are taking tourism from 3 percent of GDP to 10 percent of GDP,” he said.

The Future Hospitality Summit is a two-day event organized by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia and the G20 Saudi Secretariat to bring international expertise and tackle current problems of the travel and tourism industry.