RIYADH: Saudi agriculture officials on Monday launched a UN mentoring program for farmers in Taif aimed at encouraging sustainable development.
Initiated by the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce, and presented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, the scheme aims to help introduce more efficient farming practices through the sharing of information on proven techniques and by providing access to industry experts.
The ministry’s director for Taif, Hani Al-Kadi, said: “Taif is no less significant than other cities in the Kingdom, due to its agricultural diversity and yearly abundance in crops.”
He noted that introducing farmers to effective agricultural concepts and objectives would greatly contribute toward, “producing safe and sustainable food, maintaining consumer confidence, ensuring mindfulness toward the exploitation of natural resources, and reducing environmental harm.”
Kakoli Ghosh, the FAO’s chief technical adviser to the program, said global advances in farming methods and agricultural practices had helped to increase production, job opportunities, and standards of living for small farmers, while also preserving natural resources for future generations.
She pointed out that the program would include visits to Taif farms at Al-Hada, Al-Shafa, Wadi Mahram, and Al-Dayha.
The FAO has prepared 100 demonstration farms to promote modern practices and technologies, which are expected to positively impact farmers and encourage agricultural sustainability in rural areas.
The Saudi ministry first launched the Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program in cooperation with the FAO in 2019. It has been designed to boost the production, processing, and marketing of fruit, fish, livestock, and Arabic coffee, and the cultivation of rain-fed crops.
The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to diversify the Kingdom’s economy and boost contributions to gross domestic product by pushing sustainable development in all sectors of the economy. One of the main areas of focus has been on the conservation of natural resources, including the rationalization of water consumption in agriculture and achieving food security.