Agri forum urges greater efforts to contain escalating food prices
JEDDAH: An agricultural forum was opened here Sunday calling for joint efforts to boost supply applying modern technology to contain escalating food prices in the Kingdom and elsewhere in the world.
Ahmed Al-Balla, CEO of National Prawn Company (NPC), said the forum was held at a time when the world is experiencing a dire shortage of agricultural products that fail to meet growing global demand.
“This situation has resulted in shooting up prices to historical levels,” Al-Balla told the forum, which was opened by Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed.
Food prices will continue to go up for the next 10 years, he said quoting a report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Al-Balla said increasing worldwide demand on foodstuffs was putting pressure on agriculture. He called for the application of new technology to increase agricultural production.
Agriculture Minister Fahd Balghoneim said the forum would contribute to strengthening the sector. There are about 38,000 agricultural farms in the Makkah province, which produces 66,000 tons of dates, he said.
The forum will focus on water, agricultural, environmental and animal resources and rural development, the minister said, adding that it would also discuss matters relating to industrialization and marketing. “There will be discussions on individual and collective experiments and productive families,” Balghoneim said.
“We have decided to hold these forums in different provinces of the Kingdom to expand participation,” the minister said. Previous forums were held in Riyadh and Dammam. He underscored the Makkah province’s contribution to the agricultural sector. There are about 70 poultry farms in the region, he pointed out.