The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has launched “It’s time” campaign to raise awareness in the Kingdom about the importance of eating locally produced seasonal fruits.

The campaign comes “In an effort to reach the maximum nutritional benefit from locally produced fruits and to promote healthy consumption of agricultural products,” according to Saleh bin Dakhil, spokesperson at MEWA.

The campaign “Ja’a Wagtaha” (“It’s time”) aims to make people familiar with the various types of local fruits and their periods of availability in different seasons throughout the year,” Bin Dakhil told Arab News.

“The ministry devotes its efforts to raising awareness of the importance of fruits in terms of health benefits, introducing the Saudi product, sufficiency rates, production quantities and manufacturing industries,” he said.

“These objectives include enhancing the local production, promoting the use of the domestic products, raising its quality and safety standards, spreading awareness of agricultural products, raising awareness of the various options for seasonal fruits that the Kingdom enjoys, as well as raising the efficiency of the marketing system for locally produced fruits in their production season to support local farmers and increase their financial returns,” he said.

Bin Dakhil said that the support that the agricultural sector received from the country’s leadership had contributed to the development of the agricultural production sector in the quantity and quality of vegetable and fruit crops.

Last year, Saudi Arabia maintained its high ranking in the “Food Standards” index, which is a subcomponent of the Global Food Security Index, and was ranked first place worldwide in 2020. During the peak of the pandemic, the Kingdom also ranked 8th out of 113 countries in the self-sufficiency of food supply index.

“The ministry is working in line with the directions of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 aimed at improving and raising the standard of living, improving the quality of life, and maximizing the use of renewable natural resources that our beloved Kingdom abounds in,“ Bin Dakhil said.

“The implementation of the national strategy for agriculture contributed significantly to raising the rate of self-sufficiency, and the provision of many commodities and major crops in local markets, as the amount of local production of fruits, except for dates, amounted to about 900 thousand tons of seasonal fruits in 2021.”

“But marketing this production still represents the biggest challenge in the agricultural sector, and therefore this campaign came to contribute to promoting the marketing of local agricultural products,” he said.

Saudi Arabia produces many types of fruits, and in general exports what exceeds its self-sufficiency requirements. The local production of fruits, including dates, is about 2.5 million tons.

The Kingdom has achieved percentages of self-sufficiency in many types of fruits, including dates, with a self-sufficiency rate up to 122 percent, figs up to 107 percent, watermelons up to 99 percent, cantaloupe up to 81.5 percent, grapes up to 60 percent, pomegranates up to 34 percent, citruses up to 15 percent, and bananas up to 4 percent. (Arab News)