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, Ireland foreign ministers discuss Gaza developments in Brussels

Saudi, Ireland foreign ministers discuss Gaza developments in Brussels
Updated 10 min 40 sec ago
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Saudi, Ireland foreign ministers discuss Gaza developments in Brussels

Saudi, Ireland foreign ministers discuss Gaza developments in Brussels

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Monday met his Irish counterpart Micheal Martin in the Belgian capital, Brussels, to discuss developments in the situation in the Gaza Strip and the efforts made to solve the conflict.

During the meeting, they also discussed bilateral relations between their two countries and ways to strengthen and develop them in various fields, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of a meeting of the ministerial committee, headed by Prince Faisal, which was assigned by the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit with the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.

It also comes a day before Ireland, along with Spain and Norway, plan to make official their recognition of a Palestinian state.


Saudi industry minister begins official trip to Netherlands

Saudi industry minister begins official trip to Netherlands
Updated 27 May 2024
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Saudi industry minister begins official trip to Netherlands

Saudi industry minister begins official trip to Netherlands
  • Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef’s visit seeks to strengthen ties in industrial, mining sectors

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef traveled to the Netherlands on Monday for an official visit with the objective of strengthening cooperation in the industrial and mining sectors, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The visit aims to explore and expand joint investment opportunities between the two countries.
Alkhorayef is scheduled to meet with several Dutch ministers and senior government officials, along with key leaders from the private sector, to discuss collaboration in the industrial and mining sectors.
The minister’s itinerary will also include several visits to Dutch factories and companies operating within these sectors with the hopes of fostering collaborative ventures between private sector entities in both countries.
The visit underscores Saudi Arabia’s commitment to diversifying its economy and strengthening international ties, SPA added.
In 2023, the Kingdom’s non-oil exports to the Netherlands were valued at about SR2.6 billion ($706 million), while its non-oil imports from the Netherlands amounted to almost SR8.5 billion.


Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union praises Saudi Arabia’s ‘tremendous effort’ to support Palestinian cause

Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union praises Saudi Arabia’s ‘tremendous effort’ to support Palestinian cause
Updated 27 May 2024
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Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union praises Saudi Arabia’s ‘tremendous effort’ to support Palestinian cause

Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union praises Saudi Arabia’s ‘tremendous effort’ to support Palestinian cause

RIYADH: The Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union has praised the “tremendous efforts of Saudi Arabia, led by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in supporting the Palestinian cause,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The AIPU released a final statement following the 36th Arab Parliamentary Union Conference, which ended on Monday in Algiers.

A Saudi delegation, headed by the chairman of the Shoura Council, Sheikh Abdullah Al Al-Sheikh, took part in the conference alongside heads of parliaments and councils, and several regional and international organizations and institutions.

During its sessions, the conference discussed developments in the Palestinian issue and the current situation in the Arab region.

The statement also praised the Kingdom’s hosting of a number of Arab, Islamic and African summits to support the Palestinian cause and put an end to the aggression against the Palestinian people.

On Yemen, the statement stressed the importance of the initiatives undertaken by the Kingdom, which call for constructive dialogue to achieve sustainable peace and a comprehensive political solution.

The conference endorsed the recommendations of the political committee, “which highly praised the pivotal and leading role played by Saudi Arabia, which has never hesitated in its significant achievements, contributions, initiatives, and authentic Arab stances aimed at unifying Arab ranks and elevating the status of the Arab and Islamic nations in all international forums,” SPA said.

The conference also praised the Kingdom’s hosting of Sudanese talks in Jeddah between the two conflicting parties to consolidate a truce and reach a final ceasefire agreement to end the crisis in a way that preserves Sudan’s sovereignty and unity and enables it to restore its security and stability.


Saudi economy minister holds talks with UN, OPEC officials in Austria

Saudi economy minister holds talks with UN, OPEC officials in Austria
Updated 27 May 2024
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Saudi economy minister holds talks with UN, OPEC officials in Austria

Saudi economy minister holds talks with UN, OPEC officials in Austria

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim on Monday met Executive Director of the UN Office in Vienna Ghada Waly in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

During the meeting, the two discussed “collaboration between the Kingdom and the UN on the Sustainable Development Goals and other topics of common interest,” the ministry said in a statement.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the minister’s visit to Austria to participate in the ninth session of the Saudi-Austrian Joint Committee.

Al-Ibrahim also met Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, president of the OPEC Fund for International Development, to explore the fund’s upcoming initiatives.

He also held talks with Austrian Minister of Labor and Economy Martin Kocher on strengthening trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, and the latest developments of joint interest.

The meetings were attended by the Kingdom’s Ambassador to Austria Abdullah Tawlah.


Kuwait emir receives Saudi minister of state

Kuwait emir receives Saudi minister of state
Updated 27 May 2024
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Kuwait emir receives Saudi minister of state

Kuwait emir receives Saudi minister of state

Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received Saudi Minister of State Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz and his accompanying delegation on Monday at Bayan Palace in Kuwait.

Prince Turki conveyed the greetings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

They reviewed the strong fraternal relations between their countries and ways to strengthen them across various fields.

The meeting was also attended by Saudi Ambassador to Kuwait Prince Sultan bin Saad bin Khalid and dignitaries from both sides.