(MENAFN - Arab News) Minister of Agriculture Fahd Balghunaim said the ministry was awaiting the Council of Ministers' approval for the inception of a professional specialist with the Saudi Association for Animal Resources.
He said his ministry encourages the establishment of civil society institutions as the ministry cannot deal with every farmer or livestock breeder individually, therefore there must be organizations that serve them and serve those interested in the field.
He said the ministry's proposal to establish the association came after it was proposed by a number of farmers and livestock traders, the discussions with whom resulted in an agreement to separate the sectors of camels and sheep (sheep include goats) within the association.
The minister was speaking at the signing of the contract to operate the Bacterial Vaccination Laboratory at the Veterinary Vaccination Center in Riyadh Tuesday.
The Ministry of Agriculture had been producing viral veterinary vaccinations for 30 years, and 9 months from now the laboratory would start producing Brucellosis, Enterotoxemia and Pasteurellosis vaccines, he said. Bacterial vaccinations are currently imported by the private sector.
"The bacterial lab will be run in cooperation with the private sector, which is a step that will help building a base for the manufacturing and production of veterinary vaccinations in the country. The vaccinations will be distributed to farmers and breeders and animal production projects free of charge."
Private veterinary pharmacies secure livestock farmers' requirements of vaccinations, especially the ones not produced by the agriculture ministry, however, when the new laboratory starts production, the country could possibly reach a point where it exports veterinary vaccinations according to the minister.
About 60 percent of consumed poultry in the country is imported, he said.
The minister also launched the food commodity observatory in the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said the National Agricultural Strategy to be approved soon would concentrate on increasing the production of red meat, adding that it is (the strategy) aimed at creating stability in the prices of sheep and camels, which, as a result, would stabilize poultry prices.
The increase in poultry prices was partially due to the increased demand after red meat prices spiked, he said, adding that there was a system or mechanism that could be implemented to curb prices, and that setting price ceilings cannot be done in a free-market economy such as Saudi Arabia's.