Seawater resistant rice to counter the export ban
With the decisions of the countries of India and Russia to stop exporting rice, calls were made to support the ban on re-exporting “white” rice from Saudi Arabia, and reactions varied regarding the support for cultivating “rice” locally within agricultural lands in Saudi Arabia, specifically “white” rice, after more measures were taken. Specialized scientific studies and experiments, benefiting from “renewed” irrigation water, working to develop varieties of rice that are resistant to saline water, benefiting from sea water in irrigating rice farms locally, introducing modern advanced technologies, and techniques that rationalize irrigation water.
Others rejected the idea of the possibility of cultivating it locally, under the pretext that the availability of water in East Asian countries, cheap labor, and mechanization contributed to the provision of the “white” rice crop at reasonable prices, and this may be a reason for the rise in the prices of its cultivation locally, so it is not preferable to grow it locally, and it may not It is economically feasible, and some of them argued that it is necessary to replace the culture of consuming “white” rice.
Long term storage
In turn, the head of the Agricultural Development Committee in the Al-Ahsa Chamber, Eng. Sadiq Al-Ramadan, told Al-Watan that dependence on foreign countries in food security “securing food” is subject to risks, and that Saudi Arabia has a major role in strategic storage, which includes several agricultural crops, including Rice, and in Saudi Arabia, is a long-term storage that exceeds the needs of the full year, and that any crisis usually does not take this period of time, and we in Saudi Arabia are far from any suffocating crisis, and we have experience in the “Covid-19” pandemic, with which we did not feel a crisis because of the distinctive policies. In Saudi Arabia.
He added: Saudi Arabia has distinguished “international” bilateral relations with many countries of the world, including India, and India deals with Saudi Arabia in special treatment in its export of rice to Saudi Arabia, and there are great hopes that there will not be a major crisis in that, despite that, there are security options. Multiple food options, and that Saudi Arabia is proceeding with multiple options, including: internal agriculture, and reliance on several countries for agricultural crops, with the exception of rice. The Saudis’ favorite “main dish” is rice imported from India, and it is not cultivated in other countries.
He said: The possibility of cultivating rice in Saudi Arabia is poor, due to several considerations, including: that it is a summer crop, and there is great pressure on water in the summer, and rice needs very large quantities of water, to cover the large quantity of rice consumed in Saudi Arabia, so it is an unsuitable option. Implementationally appropriate. This option may be suitable for cultivating winter crops, which depend on a limited number of irrigation and rain, and cool weather that reduces water consumption, excluding the possibility of covering “Hasawi” rice as an alternative to “Indian” rice, given that Hasawi rice is “expensive.” Compared to “Indian” rice, and therefore not for daily consumption, in addition to the difficulty of expanding the agricultural areas specialized in the cultivation of “Al-Hasawi” rice, and its cultivation coincided with the cultivation of palm trees in the agricultural oasis, and thus pressure on irrigation water. Al-Ramadan supported the issuance of a decision banning the re-export of rice from Saudi Arabia, in order to preserve the quantities available in Saudi Arabia.
In turn, the official spokesman for the Agricultural Development Fund, Habib Al-Shammari, confirmed to Al-Watan that with regard to the decision to grow rice locally, this is due to the plans and objectives of the national strategy for agriculture that is supervised by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture. Food security, including the rice product, as the Fund offers this program, which is a financing product consisting of a mixture of direct and indirect loans, in cooperation with commercial banks; To finance the import of products related to food security, the targeted products include: fodder, alfalfa, rice, sugar, corn, soybeans, edible oil, firewood, and red meat.
He said: It is possible to benefit from financing by applying to the fund and fulfilling the required conditions, the most important of which is that the product be one of these targeted crops, as well as providing guarantees that the fund accepts, such as: bank guarantees, or real estate and project assets, assigning project revenues or pledging inventory, in addition to In addition to other requirements such as having experience in the field of importing foodstuffs and others.