Jennifer Prillaman | Palladium - Jul 31 2018
Less Water, More Food: Growing the Organic Farming Market in Saudi Arabia

Last month, Saudi Arabia unveiled its enormous USD $200 million Organic Action Plan, aiming to increase the country’s organic production by 300 percent. In Saudi Arabia, agriculture is the largest consumer of water, and as much as 80 percent of its non-replenishable fossil water has already been consumed. Saudi Arabia has recognised organic farming as an important step in reducing its dependence on water. Organic farming can help farmers increase their production without burdening the country’s scarce water resources. Palladium is helping Saudi Arabia implement its Organic Action Plan and grow the organic agriculture sector into a sustainable market. Specifically, we will strengthen the capacity of Saudi Arabia’s monitoring authorities, its organic agriculture research, organic certification and production, technology support, and marketing activities.

Everyone at the Table
Palladium is helping implement Phase Five of the Organic Action Plan, focusing on building the sector into a sustainable market by working with every stakeholder. We know a market – or an ecosystem – cannot be long-lasting if someone isn’t benefitting from it. Palladium is partnering with the government, experts, a farmer’s cooperative, and on-the-ground private sector farmers. We are working directly with the Department of Organic Production at the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA), the Organic Agriculture Research Centre (OARC), and the Saudi Organic Farming Association (SOFA). With a wide array of partners, we can ensure that the Plan is implemented specifically to support every actor within the market.

By working with partners across the value chain, we’re ensuring the sector stays sustainable long after Palladium leaves. We’re training the Department of Organic Production and other partners to strengthen their capacity to manage this transformation. Saudi Arabia has made sure this Organic Action Plan takes a long view. The plan is to be implemented in three phases over the next 13 years, and fits within the KSA Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Plan 2020, ensuring it stays aligned with the country’s overall, long-term priorities. Palladium is partnering with and strengthening existing institutions within Saudi Arabia, because they will be there long after us.

Organically Creating Supply and Demand
More and more consumers are becoming interested in “safe” food, but without a sustainable market the supply – and demand – will stay underdeveloped. Palladium will help increase consumer awareness of the benefits of organic farming by establishing marketing incentives that influence supply and demand. We’re also helping develop a Saudi National Organic logo and create the regulatory infrastructure to support the organic agriculture sector, so the government can effectively regulate organic production, instilling confidence in consumers.

Demand can only be met with a stable market to consistently supply it. A stable market encourages investments, and investments help make a market stable. Using this relationship, Palladium will be encouraging investment opportunities that will lead to more employment, increased incomes, and higher food production, and more, healthier food that is better for the people and the environment.