Due to its ability to provide huge quantities of various plants and crops continuously throughout the year, many Arab countries, led by the Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have turned to greenhouses as one of the most successful and fastest ways to achieve food self-sufficiency. The following is a presentation of the most important efforts and projects implemented by both countries to reach this goal..
Saudi efforts to achieve food security
- Years ago, the Kingdom began paying great attention to the issue of food security.
- The Saudi government has worked – to this end – to support the agricultural sector, including the cultivation of greenhouses.
- Cultivation in greenhouses inside the Kingdom began more than 30 years ago, until this type of cultivation became able to provide self-sufficiency in some crops.
- For example, the Kingdom has reached high rates of self-sufficiency in tomatoes, cucumbers and okra.
- The efforts of the Saudi government were not limited to increasing the cultivated area of fruits and vegetables by establishing greenhouses; In addition, it was keen to provide the necessary financial support to the owners of farms and greenhouses.
- The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has allocated financing loans to the agricultural sector amounting to $100 million, through its Development Fund.
- The Ministry aims, through these loans, to provide all the operational costs necessary to start any greenhouse projects, whether air-conditioned or not.
15,000 greenhouses in the UAE
- The UAE is not much different from its sister country; It also endeavored to implement and support greenhouse projects, establishing at least 15,000 homes.
- Government officials have emphasized the state’s ability to achieve self-sufficiency in some crops, such as potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, okra, lettuce, and eggplant.
- The UAE has also been keen, as part of its plan to achieve food security, to support specialized research centers and sustainable agriculture.
Dismissal of 90% of imports
- After years of working on two levels: establishing greenhouses, and supporting agricultural research centers, the country was able to reach positive results.
- These efforts have already resulted in the provision of a large amount of agricultural crops and the achievement of self-sufficiency in them, until the government announced in 2020 that it would achieve food security by more than 90%.
In addition to the Saudi and Emirati models; There are many international and Arab models, which have succeeded in establishing greenhouses in huge numbers, and then providing double amounts of production and agricultural crops, bringing them to the stage of self-sufficiency and food security.