Towards Good Agricultural Practice in Saudi Arabia
In August 2018, King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia and Wageningen University & Research centre (Wageningen UR) in the Netherlands signed a contract to develop Good Agricultural Practice in Saudi Arabia.
The project has been commissioned by the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, whose mission is to make the country’s agricultural sector sustainable. Wageningen UR has previously been involved in another project in Saudi Arabia, called Estidamah, the Arabic word for sustainability. This project, which had a duration of some five years, focused on greenhouse horticulture and achieved a water savings of more than 40% with tripled yields.
Saving water and increasing yields
The aim of the new project is to demonstrate how technologies to achieve water savings and higher yields can be used on commercial farms, thus restructuring and modernising the Saudi agricultural sector. It is key that these technologies are affordable and easy to implement.
Agriculture in Saudi Arabia
Over the next four years, Wageningen UR and King Faisal University will run trials on farms across Saudi Arabia. The technologies used at the farms have been developed across the world to reduce water usage and increase production. For example, sensors can be used to measure the amount of water in the ground. Irrigation can then be adjusted as necessary. The role of Wageningen UR is to identify these technologies, design the field trials and facilitate knowledge transfer, so that the Saudi agricultural sector will actually adopt these technologies. The project covers the entire agricultural sector in Saudi Arabia, from greenhouse horticulture to date palm and fruit farms.
Good Agricultural Practice
As defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization, Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) is based on principles which result in safe and healthy agricultural products, while taking into account economic, social and environmental sustainability.