(MENAFN - Arab News) Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf inaugurated an agricultural data center in Riyadh on Wednesday and described it as one of the seven initiatives aimed at developing the sector.
"This center will help transfer of information between farmers and traders involved in selling agricultural goods," the minister said. "It will also reduce cost of production and achieve a balance between demand and supply of agricultural products," he added.
Al-Assaf said the center is an interactive facility that receives and conveys information.
"Even in poor countries information is now available on agricultural marketing as well as demand and supply through modern communication means," he added.
He said the remaining six initiatives would contribute to strengthening the Kingdom's agricultural sector and increase its share in the country's gross domestic product.
The minister underscored the significance of animal resources, especially poultry that receives government subsidy in terms of financial support for fodder and protection against foreign suppliers.
Al-Assaf also disclosed the government's plan to establish a company for agricultural development.
In his statement, Agricultural Minister Fahd Balghunaim said the seven initiatives were planned by the Agricultural Development Fund. "There are no obstacles to strengthening the Kingdom's agricultural sector," he added.
He explained the reason for the change in prices of agricultural products. "They are seasonal products. In some seasons the yield will be high while in other seasons it would be low. This leads to a fluctuation of prices," he said.
Balghunaim said the center would collect information from farmers about their activities and products in order to exchange information. "This will help farmers develop marketing plans," he added.
Many Saudi businessmen have invested in agriculture in foreign countries, the minister said, adding that it would have a positive impact on the sector. He said the cooperative insurance scheme would strengthen the country's poultry sector.
Speaking about the center, Muhammad Al-Shaiha, deputy minister for agricultural affairs, said it would help the government prepare the country's agricultural development plans and strategies.
The center will study the current situation of agriculture, provide training to the national cadre, and collect information from various reliable sources, said Al-Shaiha, chairman of the center's executive committee.