Saudi Arabia Unveils Its $200 Million Organic Farming Action Plan

Two years ago, it was reported that the Saudi Arabian government had begun designing strategies to support the development of organic farming across the Kingdom, with plans to establish more than 20 organic farms in the near future. This week, it was finally announced that the plan has now been set into action. The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture unveiled its organic farming action plan, which was approved by the Cabinet, and has allocated SR750 million ($200 million) to support it.

According to the ministry’s undersecretary, Ahmed bin Ali Al-Eyada, the plan will be one of the most important means of supporting organic production in the Kingdom. This nation-wide move towards building institutional capacity, part of its ambitious plan to expand Saudi Arabia’s shift toward organic agriculture, is seen as a positive step addressing the country’s nutritional needs, public health, and environment-related issues.

“The plan aims to increase organic production by 300 percent. Its other objectives include providing safe food, sustainable, highly profitable farming, which will be an important resource for the national economy […] Organic farmers are a key part of this plan, so they must be supported by it through different means,” explained Al-Eyada.

According to report by the Oxford Business Group, Saudi Arabia went through a key policy shift on self-sufficiency and wheat production over the last few years. In line with this approach, the Kingdo’s government instituted a number of other plans to mitigate the effects of agricultural production on the country’s water reserves, with one of the most important moves in this respect being the emphasis on organic and greenhouse production.

In a 2016 piece by Arab News, the deputy chief of the Saudi Organic Farming Association (SOFA) explained that the Saudi government encouraging organic farming in the Kingdom by providing support to organic farmers such as paying the fees for certification, rendering technical advice, and extending support to improve the quality of farming.