Saudi Arabia is hot and dry. Difficult conditions for growing fruits or vegetables, but not impossible. Farmers and growers in the country would therefore be greatly helped with knowledge about watering, fertilization and crop protection. That is why the Greenhouse Horticulture Business Unit at Wageningen University & Research is contributing to the setup of demonstration plots spread around the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is best known for the cultivation of date palms. But many more crops are grown- vegetables, cereals, fodder and fruits - in plastic greenhouses and in open field. However, the productivity of those crops is low. This is primarily due to the lack in the latest knowledge about irrigation, fertilisation and crop protection. The scarcity and salinity of irrigation water is not helping either. In addition, it is hot in Saudi Arabia: the average summer temperature is 45 °C, which is stressing for crops.
Using demonstration plots
Together with King Faisal University, WUR Greenhouse Horticulture is developing a training program for farmers and growers in Saudi Arabia. Demonstration plots play a central role in this. Among other things, it shows how Integrated Pest Management works. Farmers and growers therefore see how a balanced use of chemical agents, natural enemies and traps help to combat pests and diseases. Special attention will also be paid to irrigation and fertilisation. In this way, farmers and growers see how they can improve their quality and yield per unit of irrigation water.
There will be around 100 demonstration plots. The farmers and growers are being approached by King Faisal University with support from WUR Greenhouse Horticulture and the cooperation of the Ministry of Environment, Water & Agriculture of Saudi Arabia, which is also financing the project.