Saudi to bolster fisheries industry in accord with FAO |
Saudi Gazette - 19 May, 2012
Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to allocate $ 66.7 million to implement the latter's technical assistance projects in the Kingdom.
The accord was signed at FAO headquarters in Rome during its Regional Conference for the Near East.
Under the five-year program from 2012 to 2016, FAO will provide technical assistance and expertise for 17 specific projects in Saudi Arabia covering several areas.
Laurent Thomas, FAO Assistant Director General for Technical Cooperation, and Khaled Al-Fuhaid, Saudi Deputy Minister for Agriculture, signed the Memo of Understanding in the presence of FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva.
The MoU will include the transfer of technology, sustainable management of natural resources including water and forests, sustainable crop production and protection, the rational management of animal and fisheries resources, animal health, capacity building and the strengthening of rural institutions.
The program aims to benefit small-scale agricultural producers and fishermen, who will be able to increase and diversify food production.
Da Silva also signed another agreement with Libyan Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resource and Navy Resources Sulaiman Abdulhamid Bukhroba another cooperation agreement to fund Libya in a program totaling $ 71 million.
The agreement will improve development in various agriculture and natural resource sectors, including health and animal production and development in urban areas.
The fisheries sector plays a significant role in global food security providing a valuable dietary source of proteins, minerals, micronutrients and essential fatty acids, the "OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2010-2019" report said.
In addition, the sector contributes to economic activity, employment and in generating foreign exchange.
World per capita fish consumption is estimated at about 17.1 kg, with fish providing about 3 billion people with 15 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein.
Fish is widely traded, with about 38 percent of production entering international trade as various food and feed products. Trade of fish and fishery products has significantly increased in the last decades, reaching a record $ 102 billion in 2008.
In 2009, following the global economic recession, there was a contraction in demand, with a slight decline of fishery trade in both value and volume terms. However, trade is again expanding and the outlook for 2010 is generally positive as is the longer-term trend for fishery trade.
Developed countries absorb about 80 percent of world fishery imports in value. Developing countries play a crucial role in fishery exports with a share of about 50 percent by value and 60 percent by quantity (live weight equivalent) of the total. The fishery net exports of developing countries (i.e., the total value of their exports less the total value of their imports) has shown a continuing rising trend in the last decades, growing from $ 9 billion in 1986 to $ 27 billion in 2008. These figures were significantly higher than those for agricultural commodities such as rice, sugar, coffee and tea.
At present, about 80 percent of total fishery production is used for direct human consumption. The remaining 20 percent, entirely from capture fisheries, is destined for non-food products, mainly for production of fishmeal and fish oil, as well as direct feed in aquaculture and livestock. In 2008, total world fish production (capture and aquaculture), excluding aquatic plants, reached 142 Mt. It should be mentioned that this figure might underestimate the effective amount due to the incomplete recording of subsistence fisheries as well as of illegal, unreported and unregulated catches.
The OECD Workshop on Advancing the Aquaculture Agenda, held in April 2010, underscored the importance of ensuring a solid governance system for the sector with a view to ensuring future growth.