Joint efforts sought for better agri system
Dubai, March 22, 2012
As the GCC faces challenges of food security due to a shortage of natural resources, an improved collaboration between its member states is necessary to devise a sustainable agricultural system, an industry expert said.
Prof Abdulaziz Al Harbi, Professor of Horticulture at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia added that amid an increasing population and climate change affecting agriculture, food as a strategic resource and commodity is a challenge that GCC countries must overcome together.
“There is lack of skill in the management of sustainable production systems and a need for more collaboration between the GCC countries to share internal experiences and integrate these between their countries,” he said, adding that the private sector is also a crucial element,” he said.
“Improving the cooperation at the government level first followed by private companies can help overcome management constraints and help build a long-term sustainable agriculture industry.”
Al Harbi will speak about sustainable agricultural systems in the GCC at the Agribusiness Outlook Forum – a feature of AGRA Middle East, the leading agribusiness trade event in the region, taking place from April 2 to 4 at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre.
He said that scarcity of water is a limiting factor for agriculture in GCC countries in particular because most of its irrigated land relies on deep water resources. He added though that the latest greenhouse technology and designs can better utilise water irrigation systems.
“The efficient use of water can increase by using modern technology of irrigation and growing systems in greenhouses,” he noted. “Drip irrigation is widely used in protected cultivation, and modern irrigation systems such as deficit irrigation and modern growing systems like soilless culture in closed systems can also save water and improve production.”
“Additionally water budgets should be set for each activity and farmers should be trained to use them efficiently to maximise production and minimise costs.”
“Devising solutions as per the land requirements of each country and extensive research in the development sector along with implementation of advanced technologies in greenhouses can uphold a complete sustainable agriculture system,” he added.
Now in its second year, the Agribusiness Outlook Forum will feature a panel of international experts presenting delegates with a platform to discuss insights into food security and sustainable agricultural systems.
Speakers will address crucial topics related to food security and discuss regional governments’ approaches towards the improvement of market-led agribusiness and investment decisions.
“The Agribusiness Outlook Forum is the perfect opportunity for representatives of agriculture industry in the GCC to discuss latest technologies, and develop important relationships with various authorities,” continued Al Harbi.
“The GCC states face the same problems in food security, water and natural resource scarcity, and this is the ideal platform to solve them,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service