We must make use of our agricultural resources

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Al-Jazirah

Just like any Saudi citizen, I am worried about the high volume of foodstuffs we import and which we should manufacture and produce domestically. I believe that the government should restore the subsidy for agricultural production that it halted in 2015. This subsidy is important, especially since countries suffering from political turmoil, wars and conflicts surround our country. Why are we not producing our own food and exporting it to nearby countries?

The agricultural potential of our country has not been tapped. The agricultural sector needs more attention and support; it forms an integral part of our national security.

Subsidies should be given to major national companies and agricultural associations. Such subsidies would allow these organizations to hire Saudis and adopt new farming methods such as greenhouse farming and drip irrigation, which would help reduce the consumption of water for farming.

Over the past few years, the Kingdom has not taken full advantage of the rain that fell in large quantities over the western and southern heights. Most of the rainwater ended up being absorbed in the desert, causing cracks and landslides. We should have stored this rainwater in underground reservoirs and transported it through pipes to agricultural areas suffering from a lack of rain.

We must search for other efficient solutions. For example, we could provide subsidies for growing wheat, vegetables and palm trees. We could build more dams to store rainwater in places that are known to have rain throughout the year. We could desalinate seawater by means of solar energy and encourage more people to take up farming to increase the percentage of vegetation and help put an end to sandstorms. Some parts of the country are struck by such storms several times each year because of desertification, which is on the increase. These storms cause numerous chest diseases.

Less farming disrupts the environmental equilibrium. Poor vegetation cover means a low evaporation percentage; that is to say, the chances for rainfall will drop, causing soil to erode. Soil erosion means only one thing: dry land that is not good for farming.


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