Saudi set to halt veg exports

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Tom Joyce

BY TOM JOYCE

@tomfruitnet

Saudi set to halt veg exports

In a bid to conserve its dwindling water resources, the Kingdom will cease exports of vegetables in September this year

Saudi set to halt veg exports

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The ministry of agriculture has ordered its quarantine authorities to begin procedures to stop the export of local agricultural products cultivated in open fields, including potatoes and other vegetables.

The export ban will come into force on 17 September, according to a report in Arab News quoting Al-Eqtisadiah business daily.

The new directive follows the ministry’s earlier decision to conserve the Kingdom’s dwindling water resources by diminishing its reliance on local agricultural production.

In addition to halting wheat production, exports of agricultural products grown in open fields were to be phased out within five years, according to a directive given in January 2008.

Potatoes are set to be the main item affected, as them stand as Saudi Arabia's top agricultural export to other GCC countries, including the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar.

According to a report released by the ministry, annual vegetable production reached 2.5m tonnes in 2010, including 492,000 tonnes of tomatoes and 399,000 tonnes of potatoes.

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