During the 43rd session of the General Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, H.E. Vice Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Eng. Mansour Al-Mushaiti confirmed that Saudi Arabia fully supports FAO in advancing water and food security and combating hunger and poverty on local, regional, and global scales.
Al-Mushaiti emphasized that Saudi Arabia highly prioritizes agricultural and food systems and their associated challenges. Recognizing its responsibilities and membership in the FAO Saudi Arabia firmly believes in the significance of collaborative efforts with regional and international entities. This is to enhance research, employ cutting-edge technologies, and overcome obstacles hindering shared objectives.
In terms of agricultural development, the Kingdom has implemented various significant strategies, initiatives, and programs. The Agricultural Development Fund, for example, promotes modern technologies through lending policies. This includes lending that exceeds 70% of agricultural capital costs. Notably, the lending rate has significantly increased, rising from 500 million riyals in 2015 to a staggering SR 7 billion in 2022.
Al-Mushaiti said the agricultural sector in the Kingdom experienced a surge in investments, leading to significant development and progress. This is evident in domestic agricultural production, which reached 100 billion riyals in 2022, marking its highest contribution in history. Moreover, the Kingdom achieved commendable levels of self-sufficiency, particularly in crops that utilize modern technologies. This success can be attributed to comprehensive water management strategies. This resulted in a reduction in agricultural water consumption from 86% to below 70%.
On the margins of the conference, Eng. Mansour Al-Mushaiti met with Dr. Alvaro Lario, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The main focus of their discussion was to explore areas of partnership and collaboration between the Kingdom and the Fund. In addition, they found ways to strengthen cooperation in line with Kingdom Vision 2030.