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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Traditional farming in the Asir region, with its fertile land and abundant agricultural holdings, has long been a reliable source of food for the Saudi population.
But despite the common use of modern farming methods and chemical fertilizers, many farmers in the region have taken the organic route through an initiative supported and promoted by the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture.
Saad Al-Damik, a farmer for more than 20 years, said that organic farming was the best choice for achieving abundant and high-quality produce, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
He noted the negative effects of chemical fertilizers, such as increased soil acidity, tree withering, and poor yields.
He praised the backing he had received from the ministry’s branch in Asir since registering his farm for the government’s organic scheme, which offers educational and awareness programs.
Al-Damik grows oranges, tangerines, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, pears, apples, peaches, lemons, and berries using organic manure from cattle and sheep.
Organic farming focuses on the sustainability of ecological agricultural systems and the production of healthy food. It aims to preserve natural resources such as soil and water, and biodiversity. Soil is the central component of organic farming, and the goal is to maximize its fertility and maintain its long-term vitality and health.
According to the ministry, organic farming involves recycling crop residues, animal manure, and green manure, and incorporating them into the soil while excluding chemically manufactured fertilizers and pesticides.
The ministry’s Asir branch has been working to encourage and support farmers to transition to full-scale organic farming.
One of the most important initiatives supported by the ministry, the growing demand for organic products has further motivated farmers to switch to sustainable methods.
Since the launch of the organic farming scheme, six farms in the Asir region have successfully transitioned and 32 farms are in the process of adopting the system. And the ministry has recently received more than 30 applications from farmers looking to make the move.
The Saudi government has been working to expand organic production and develop supportive services in the Kingdom since 2005.
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