Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs | 26 January 2009
Riyadh, January 26. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz received here today Minister of Commerce and Industry Acting Head of the ministerial team following King Abdullah Initiative for Saudi agricultural investment abroad accompanied by two Saudi businessmen Mohammad Hussein Al-Amoudi and Abdullah Hassan Al-Masri who invest within the Initiative on the occasion of the arrival of the earliest produce of their rice to the Kingdom.
The audience was attended by the project consultant Director of King Saud University Dr. Abdullah A. Al-Othman and Abdullah A. Al-Hmoudi, Undersecretary of Ministry of Commerce and Industry, where the monarch listened to explanation of project stages and its participation in achieving food security in the Kingdom.
King Abdullah praised the positive outcome of the project and urged its directors to double their efforts to achieve the desired goals.
King Abdullah Initiative for Saudi agricultural investment abroad aims at contribution to realizing national and international food security, building integrative partnerships with countries all over the world that have high agricultural potential to develop and manage agricultural investments in several strategic crops at sufficient quantities and stable prices in addition to ensuring their sustainability.
Planning these investments was carried out according to the following agricultural investment principles and criteria:
- Investment in countries with promising agricultural resources, and having encouraging government and administrative regulations and incentives.
- Export of the grown crops to the kingdom at reasonable percentages
- Investment should be Long term: through ownership or long-term contracts
- Liberty of selecting the agricultural crops
- Signature of bilateral agreements with the concerned countries to ensure achievement of the investments' objectives
- Support and encouragement by the state for these investments
- Availability, easiness and low-cost transport of the crops to the kingdom.
It is taken into consideration to operate these investments according to a methodology that is flexible and quick in implementation including mechanisms of agricultural investments abroad; available alternatives in each country; measures to be taken in this regard to preserve interests of both the Kingdom and the host country; and state's motivation of Saudi agricultural companies and investors to invest in basic agricultural crops such as rice, wheat, barley, corn, sugar, green fodders, animal and fish wealth.
Due to the care of the wise leadership for making the Initiative a success, royal directives were issued to provide credit facilities to Saudi investors in agriculture abroad. Royal orders required formation of a ministerial team led by the Minister of Commerce and Industry and membership of the Minster of Agriculture, and undersecretaries of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
A steering committee and technical working teams emanated from the ministerial team who proactively visited the world countries who have high agricultural potential.
The team discussed with leaders and officials of these countries aspects of cooperation in agricultural and animal investments.
The team visited Turkey, Ukraine, Egypt, the Sudan, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Ethiopia. Mr. Mohammad Hussein Al-Amoudi embarked on huge agricultural projects to patch up the gap in the most important foodstuff in Saudi cuisine, i.e. rice.
He contracted with research centers to determine possibility of growing the required extra quality rice in Ethiopia and results came favorable. Actual farming was started and harvest was collected last month. Here he is today submitting the earliest produce of top quality rice to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.