Saudi Environment Ministry launches first urban farm inside stores

Update Saudi Environment Ministry launches first urban farm inside stores
The ministry’s undersecretary, Ahmed Al-Eyada, attended the launch of the project, which was implemented by a leading bioagriculture company. (SPA)
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Updated 26 April 2024
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Saudi Environment Ministry launches first urban farm inside stores

Saudi Environment Ministry launches first urban farm inside stores
  • Initiative allows customers to obtain fresh food products grown in the Kingdom.
  • The ministry aims to launch about 600 to 1,000 farms in the retail system across all markets in the Kingdom over the next five years

RIYADH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture launched an urban vertical farm project for food markets and stores, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The initiative, the first of its kind in the region, allows customers to obtain fresh food products grown in the Kingdom.

The ministry’s undersecretary, Ahmed Al-Eyada, attended the launch of the project, which was implemented by a leading bioagriculture company.

Danube markets in Riyadh is hosting the first vertical farm in the project. Commercial display units in the market contain a variety of plants and agricultural products, such as lettuce, coriander, parsley and broccoli — many of which were previously sourced from abroad.

The ministry aims to launch about 600 to 1,000 farms in the retail system across all markets in the Kingdom over the next five years. These farms are intended to meet 20 to 40 percent of domestic demand for agricultural products and vegetables.

Abdullah Sahab, CEO and founder of IRama, a Saudi company specializing in modern technologies for biodynamic agriculture, has told Arab News that the initiative directly aims to raise the quality of food and ensure seed sources and clean, organic handling of the plant in a fully protected environment.

He said: “The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture hopes that this initiative will create a new agricultural market called urban farming, which aims to cover approximately 20 percent of the volume of consumption in vegetables.

“It also aims to localize the agricultural profession and reduce the obstacles and barriers that are present. It helps the farmer to reach the consumer directly, thus raising the proportion of the farmer’s income to the value of the product. Such initiatives contribute to reducing carbon emissions and reliance on liquid fuels.”

Sahab said that the initiative “will raise the rate of localization of the agricultural profession to at least 20 times what it is today.”

He added: “It will also contribute to creating a work environment for thousands of small and medium enterprises in the field of urban agriculture, such as operating, selling, and installing systems in urban areas within cities that stimulate and reduce dependence on expatriate workers and supply chains.”

Vertical urban farms in stores aim to preserve natural resources, maintain ecosystem balance and promote sustainable productivity. By shortening supply chains, they also reduce loss and waste, and introduce a new farming model suited to local farmers and businesses in the Kingdom.

The initiative offers multiple benefits for consumers by providing high-quality vegetables and fruits that retain their freshness and nutritional value for up to five times longer than traditional methods, the SPA reported.

Urban farms also promote job localization and greater income potential. Furthermore, they help overcome logistical challenges associated with transporting agricultural products to consumers.

Vertical farming not only conserves agricultural land but also reduces labor and water usage by 80 to 90 percent compared to traditional farming, providing a year-round high-yield agricultural environment.


Saudi Royal Court: King Salman to undergo medical examinations

Saudi Royal Court: King Salman to undergo medical examinations
Updated 19 May 2024
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Saudi Royal Court: King Salman to undergo medical examinations

Saudi Royal Court: King Salman to undergo medical examinations

JEDDAH: The Saudi Royal Court said on Sunday that King Salman would undergo medical examinations at the Royal Clinics at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah.

The medical team decided to conduct tests on King Salman – who suffers from a high temperature and joint pain – to diagnose his health condition, the Royal Court said in a statement.


Saudi crown prince meets White House national security adviser Sullivan

Saudi crown prince meets White House national security adviser Sullivan
Updated 19 May 2024
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Saudi crown prince meets White House national security adviser Sullivan

Saudi crown prince meets White House national security adviser Sullivan
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received the US official in Dhahran
  • Their discussions included Saudi-US strategic relations, the Gaza War and Palestinian statehood

DHAHRAN:  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan in eastern city of Dhahran, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

During the meeting, the strategic relations between the two countries and ways to enhance them in various fields were reviewed, SPA said.

It said efforts to find a credible solution to the Palestinian issue, including a lasting ceasefire and unhindered entry of humanitarian aid in Gaza, with a view to a “two-state solution that meets the aspirations and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people”, were also discussed.


Greece’s prime minister receives Muslim World League chief in Athens

Greece’s prime minister receives Muslim World League chief in Athens
Updated 19 May 2024
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Greece’s prime minister receives Muslim World League chief in Athens

Greece’s prime minister receives Muslim World League chief in Athens

RIYADH: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis received the secretary-general of the Muslim World League on Tuesday in Athens, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
During the meeting, Mitsotakis and Dr Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa discussed several topics of common interest.
Al-Issa, who is also chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars, spoke about Islamic values that call for global peace and understanding between its peoples, and said he appreciated the warm reception he received during his visit and the good sentiments expressed regarding Islam’s contribution to civilization.
Al-Issa then met with Islamic officials in Greece, including muftis and imams, and visited the Athens Mosque, during which he expressed his pleasure with the additional dialogue that took place during the meeting.
He also met with Ieronymos II, the archbishop of Athens and all Greece, during which the two sides stressed the importance of the role of religious leaders in addressing all forms of religious, ethnic and societal conflicts around the world.

 


Saudi environment and water minister heads Kingdom’s delegation at World Water Forum

Saudi environment and water minister heads Kingdom’s delegation at World Water Forum
Updated 18 May 2024
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Saudi environment and water minister heads Kingdom’s delegation at World Water Forum

Saudi environment and water minister heads Kingdom’s delegation at World Water Forum

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, is heading the Kingdom’s delegation participating in the 10th World Water Forum in Bali and will attend the high-level session, on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The forum, inaugurated by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, kicked off Saturday and runs until May 25, with heads of state and government, ministers and officials from 180 countries, and 250 international organizations attending.
The Kingdom is participating with a high-level delegation representing the water sector, and will participate in an exhibition that highlights its efforts in developing the water industry through its regional and international contributions.
It will also organize a dialogue session on the sidelines of the forum in preparation for the Kingdom’s hosting of the 11th session of the World Water Forum in 2027 in Riyadh, under the slogan “Action for a Better Tomorrow.”
The Kingdom’s hosting of the event also comes as “confirmation of Saudi Arabia’s role in addressing water challenges around the world and its commitment to issues of environmental sustainability, based on what it has provided over decades of pioneering global experience in producing, transporting and distributing water and innovating technical solutions to its challenges,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The Kingdom has helped push water issues to the top of the international agenda, a move it adopted during its hosting of the G20 in 2020, and to put strategic plans to ensure water security, strengthen partnerships with global and scientific institutions, and build capacities at all levels, SPA added.
This year’s forum is being held under the slogan “Water for Shared Prosperity,” and will discuss several sub-themes, including water security and prosperity; disaster risk reduction and management; and hydro-diplomacy.


Tears of joy as American reunites with Saudi family after 40 years

Tears of joy as American reunites with Saudi family after 40 years
Updated 18 May 2024
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Tears of joy as American reunites with Saudi family after 40 years

Tears of joy as American reunites with Saudi family after 40 years
  • Relatives in Saudi Arabia say they ‘never lost hope’ they would one day find Eid Alsumani
  • Eid and his older brother grew up in Alabama estranged from their father and other family members

JEDDAH: A four-decade long search has finally led to the heartwarming reunion of an US citizen with his Saudi family, putting an end to a painful era full of longing and searches that had long promised to end in disappointment.

Two-year-old Eid Alsumani, now 42, and his older brother’s American mother cut ties with the family for reasons that have not been revealed to the public.

She had met Saud Alsumani when he was a student in the US, after which they married and had two sons.

Eid Alsumani and his family were finally reunited on May 9, with many of them meeting their 42-year old relative for the first time. (Supplied)

Following her return to Alabama with the boys, Eid’s mother cut all communication between them and their father, who returned to Saudi Arabia.

“Throughout that period of time, which lasted 40 years, members of the family were searching for their sons through the American Embassy ... (they) tried to search for the family several times, but no leads helped,” said Bander Alsumani, Eid’s cousin.

HIGHLIGHTS

• A video of Eid Alsumani’s reunion with his family at King Abdulaziz International Airport after 40 years of separation went viral on social media.

• For decades, the family had tried everything including seeking the help of the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

An English teacher at Abdullah Al-Thagafi High School in Jeddah, Bander told Arab News that his family did not lose hope in finding the lost brothers. “We just hoped they were alive.”

After decades of searches that yielded no results, their father died, never having reconnected with his sons. Their uncle, Khalid Alsumani, went to the US, determined to find his estranged nephews.

Eid Alsumani and his family were finally reunited on May 9, with many of them meeting their 42-year old relative for the first time. (Supplied)

According to Bander, while the uncle sought the help of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, the perseverence of another member of the family paid off as they found Eid on Instagram.

“It was the happiest day for the family ... we all were in joy and happiness when we heard Eid is alive and coming back home with his uncle,” said Bander. The joy also came with the sad news that Eid’s older brother had already died.

Eid and his family were finally reunited on May 9, with many of them meeting their 42-year old relative for the first time.

I believe I will visit again in maybe six months. Inshallah, I will continue to learn more about my religion, Arabic, and my family.

Eid Alsumani, Found after 40 years

“It was the most wonderful feeling in the world … just couldn’t believe that the family had been reunited with (their) son after so many years,” said Bander.

A heartwarming video of Eid’s reunion with his family at King Abdulaziz International Airport after 40 years of separation went viral on social media.

When Eid appeared from passport control with his uncle, his cousins and relatives hugged him one after another tightly, shedding tears of joy.

The family hosted a gathering with various members of the family who came from all corners to meet the long lost son and celebrate the joyous occasion.

During the emotional reunion, Eid, dressed in traditional Saudi attire, expressed his immense happiness and relief at being reunited with his extended family.

A US citizen, Eid was raised in Alabama and currently resides in Florida having graduated with bachelor’s of science degree in history and nuclear engineering technology.

Speaking to Arab News after performing Umrah in Makkah, Eid described the scene at the airport as “unbelievable.”

He said: “It was surreal. It was the first time I had been in my fatherland.

“I was extremely excited about the blessings of seeing four family members who greeted me with the legendary hospitality of Saudi fame. It felt like a scene from a movie.”

Eid, who was raised by his mother with Christian values, has reconnected with Islam with the help of his Saudi relatives.

He described praying in the Grand Mosque in Makkah as an unforgettable moment in his life. “When I was in Makkah, I was amazed to see so many people from all over the world who were walking and praying together as one for the sake of Allah,” he said.

Speaking about his future in the Kingdom, he added: “Alhamdulillah, my stay has been extended for a few days … I believe I will visit again in maybe six months. Inshallah, I will continue to learn more about my religion, Arabic, and my family.”