Saudi Arabia Launches $5.3b Agricultural Fund

Media Line | Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Written by The Media Line Staff

The Saudi Arabian cabinet on Monday decided to establish a $5.3-billion fund to support agricultural development by offering soft loans and necessary credit facilities, the Saudi daily newspaper Saudi Gazette reported.

The new fund will replace the Saudi Arabian Agricultural Bank, which was established 45 years ago with the goal of making the country self sustaining in wheat growing. While the target was achieved, it also managed to deplete the little fresh water reserves available to the country.

According to the paper, the prime concerns of the new fund will include preserving water resources by rationalizing their use for agriculture and protecting the environment.

Meanwhile, Saudi King Abdullah and Abdullah Zainal Ali Reza, who is acting head of the ministerial team charged by the king to lead the Initiative for Saudi Agricultural Investment Abroad, on Monday met with two local businessmen interested in the initiative on the same day that the first shipment of rice, grown within its framework arrived in the kingdom.

The initiative aims to uphold national and international food security by building partnerships with countries that have high agricultural potential and develop, manage and sustain farm investments in several strategic crops to be available in sufficient quantities and at a stable price.

Jordan’s King Abdullah on Monday said that the status of farms would improve in 2009 as the government implemented its agricultural strategy, the Jordanian daily Jordan Times reported.

Original source: Media Line

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