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RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has launched the “It’s Time” campaign to raise awareness in the Kingdom of the importance of eating locally produced seasonal fruits.
The campaign comes “in an effort to achieve the maximum nutritional benefits of locally produced fruits and to promote healthy consumption of agricultural products,” according to MEWA spokesperson Saleh bin Dakhil.
The ‘Ja’a Wagtaha’ (‘It’s time’) campaign aims to familiarize people with the different types of local fruits and their availability times in different seasons throughout the year,” Bin Dakhil told Arab News.
“The ministry devotes its efforts to raising awareness of the importance of fruits in terms of health benefits, introducing the Saudi product, sufficiency rates, production quantities and manufacturing industries,” he said.
“These objectives include the improvement of local production, the promotion of the use of national products, the elevation of its quality and safety standards, the awareness of agricultural products, the awareness of the different options of seasonal fruits including benefits the Kingdom, as well as increasing the efficiency of the marketing system for locally produced fruits during their production season to support local farmers and increase their financial income,” he said.
Bin Dakhil said that the support that the agricultural sector has received from the country’s leaders has contributed to the development of the agricultural production sector in the quantity and quality of vegetable and fruit crops.
Last year, Saudi Arabia maintained its high ranking in the Food Standards Index, which is a sub-component of the Global Food Safety Index, and ranked first in the world in 2020. At the height of the pandemic, the Kingdom also ranked 8th out of 113 countries in the food supply self-sufficiency index.
“The ministry is working in line with the directions of the Kingdom Vision 2030 aimed at improving and raising the standard of living, enhancing the quality of life and maximizing the use of the renewable natural resources that our beloved Kingdom abounds with,” said said Bin Dakhil. .
“The implementation of the national strategy for agriculture has contributed significantly to the increase in the rate of self-sufficiency and the supply of many basic products and main crops in local markets, since the quantity of local fruit production, excluding dates, amounted to around 900 thousand tons of seasonal fruit in 2021.”
“But the marketing of this production still represents the biggest challenge for the agricultural sector, and therefore this campaign has come to help promote the marketing of local agricultural products,” he said.
Saudi Arabia produces many types of fruit and generally exports what exceeds its self-sufficiency needs. Local fruit production, including dates, is around 2.5 million tons.
The Kingdom has achieved self-sufficiency percentages in many types of fruit, including dates, with a self-sufficiency rate of up to 122 percent, figs of up to 107 percent, watermelons of up to 99 percent. cent, cantaloupe up to 81.5 percent, grapes up to 60 percent, pomegranates up to 34 percent, citrus fruits up to 15 percent and bananas up to 4 percent.