In this project LEI Wageningen UR helps to establish the Agricultural Information Center that will play a central role in agricultural information management in the Kingdom. LEI Wageningen UR will share its knowledge and help lead the centre and train the personnel.
Food security, efficient water management and rural development are important themes in Saudi Arabia. There are sharp fluctuations in the supply of products and therefore prices. There is a strong feeling that accurate information on the situation of agriculture, including fisheries, is needed. All stakeholders in agriculture require data in order to develop solid strategies and make the right tactical and operational decisions. Examples of these data are: a farm register, market information such as prices, produced quantities and quantities traded and information on the profitability of products and farms.
The Saudi government realises that, in order to pursue its agricultural policy efficiently, it needs access to up-to-date and reliable information on prices, costs, incomes and the market. It is with this in mind that it has decided to set up an Agricultural Information Centre under the auspices of a large-scale agricultural development programme. The AIC will be implemented in a five-year programme. LEI will earn 2.7 million euros from the contract.
LEI Wageningen UR will assist in the development of the centre by sharing its specialist knowledge and experience of the collection, management and application of information in agriculture and agribusiness. This is exactly what it has been doing in the Netherlands for seventy years during which it has built up an international reputation as a top institute in this field. LEI has helped to develop a similar information network in Hungary and Turkey.
The AIC management team will learn all the aspects of an agricultural information centre in a four-week executive training programme in the Netherlands, which will be organised and facilitated by LEI Wageningen UR. LEI Wageningen UR will also be responsible for the ‘train-the-trainer’ sessions, which will show the Saudis how people in the regional offices are taught to collect data systematically and uniformly from the agricultural businesses.