It’s has been announced that the number of organic farms in Saudi Arabia has grown to 312, 27% higher than the Kingdom’s 244 organic farms in 2019. Similarly, in terms of agricultural area, there has been a growth rate of 8.8% to reach a total of 26,632.48 hectares, while the size of organic production has grown an impressive 60%, reaching 98,558.81 tons.
Organic farming continues to rise in popularity in Saudi Arabia because consumers appreciate how organic farming utilizes natural materials to produce food without the need for fertilizers with chemical ingredients like pesticides, hormones, or even genetically modifying substances.
In fact, pandemic has proved to be somewhat beneficial for the organic food industry. As the government implemented lockdowns, consumers began to stock up on food, and as a health precaution, bought more organic produce. This increased revenues of the organic food market in early 2020.
Farm to table transparency
In an effort to make the Kingdom’s organic farming sector more transparent, authorities have advocated and urged farm owners to generate specific QR codes for their products. This will allow suppliers and consumers alike to trace the origins of their products. The step is being introduced in all domestic and international markets, with each vegetable and fruit being tracked with a dynamic QR code.
In an attempt to keep the system intact, the government has instituted penalties for fraud or violation of the Organic Agricultural law. Any producer found guilty could face a fine of up to 1 million Saudi riyals, as well as having their agricultural license revoked for a year. More substantial violations can also lead to a termination of their license.
Some of these violations include labeling inorganic produce as organic, using unauthorized substances or seeds to farm, or not displaying the Saudi national logo on all produce.
The organic farming action plan has already received 750 million Saudi riyals in funding, as experts predict a 300% increase in organic farming during the next few years. Through this project, the government intends to provide safe, sustainable food that is affordable for consumers while being a lucrative opportunity for the Kingdom’s farmers. They believe that this, in turn, will significantly boost the economy.
The Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program is providing financial assistance programs to farmers who wish to be part of this growing industry.
By increasing the cultivation of in-demand organic produce, the Saudi Arabian organic sector is ripe with opportunities for the Kingdom’s farmers.