JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is to pilot a farmers’ market event in Diriyah to coincide with a UN-inspired initiative to raise awareness about the important role of fruit and vegetables in human nutrition, food security, and health.
The Saudi Culinary Arts Commission and the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture are supporting the locally run market on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Ras Al-Naama Farm.
The event, being held in conjunction with the UN’s International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021 launched on Thursday by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), aims to preserve and promote food culture in the local community.
The commission has launched the pilot phase of the farmers’ market in cooperation with the Diriyah Gate Development Authority with a view to expanding the program to other regions of the Kingdom.
A ceremony to mark the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables was attended by the Saudi minister of environment, water, and agriculture, Abdul Rahman Al-Fadli, the CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, Dr. Hisham bin Saad Al-Jadhey, and the director general of the FAO in the Kingdom, Dr. Abu Bakr Mohammed.
As well as being an awareness campaign, the UN event also aims to shed light on the important role of fruit and vegetables in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Statistics show that the average consumption of fruit and vegetables in the Kingdom reached 77 kg and 62 kg, respectively, annually. The Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture aims to up each person’s yearly share of fruits to 90 kg and 100 kg for vegetables, the equivalent of approximately 250 grams per day.
“The campaign also aims to reduce loss and waste in fruits and vegetables, bring attention to the agricultural crops produced by the Kingdom’s farms, and highlight the ministry’s efforts in developing the agricultural sector in the country and its endeavor to reach self-sufficiency and enhance food security,” the ministry said in a statement.
“This is in addition to contributing to supporting farmers, enhancing their income, and generating job opportunities for youth.”
The ministry pointed out that the campaign targeted all members of society, including farmers, importers, exporters, consumers, researchers, and scientists.
Activities will include regional workshops and events held in Saudi cities and governorates in cooperation with government and private sector agencies.
Saudi Arabia has achieved a high rate of self-sufficiency and sustainability in agricultural production. This has had a positive impact during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, thanks to the ministry’s strategic planning, the employment of the latest agricultural technology, and the application of best agricultural practices.