ROME: The Saudi Irrigation Organization (SIO) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) announced this week new cooperation to support the Kingdom’s national irrigation strategy in accordance with Vision 2030.
SIO manages and develops the irrigation sector in the Kingdom, conserves natural resources, maintains an integrated irrigation system and upgrades field efficiency through the expansion of non-conventional water use.
Two new project agreements, aimed at “promoting efficient irrigation and water productivity among farmers” and “enhancing national capacities for irrigation management,” were signed by SIO President Dr. Fuad bin Ahmed Al-Sheikh Mubarak and FAO-KSA Program Director Dr. Abubakr Mohamed, on behalf of the FAO director general, the Rome-based UN agency said in a statement.
The two organizations will develop and design key strategies to promote water use efficiency in the Kingdom.
They will advance Saudi irrigation technologies and practices, efficient drainage management, codes and standards, and will build a national irrigation database.
With a fund provision of $6.8 million, the new collaboration reinforces the Kingdom’s position as a leading partner of the FAO, both in the Middle East and worldwide.
Mubarak said that the new cooperation with FAO will enhance national capacities to develop and manage the irrigation sector in the Kingdom.
Mohamed praised the SIO “for the trust it places in FAO and for its constructive contributions to support the efforts aimed at promoting the country’s sustainable management and development of irrigation systems.”
He also hailed Saudi Arabia’s support for the FAO and its efforts, noting that that first technical cooperation between FAO and the Kingdom took place in Jazan in 1952.
The association between FAO and the Kingdom has also further developed in the past 15 years through four major projects, he added.