The Arabian Agricultural Services Company (ARASCO) has signed an agreement with NEOM, the region in northwest of Saudi Arabia focused on innovation and sustainability, and global agribusiness leader Cargill, to explore how they can work together to support the sustainable expansion of Saudi Arabia’s aquaculture sector. The agreement will also help both parties develop strategies to help the Kingdom in its aspiration to become self-sufficient in meeting aquaculture protein demand by 2030 in an environmentally friendly manner.
Nasser bin Abdulaziz Abanmi, CEO of ARASCO, Dr Juan Carlos Motamayor, head of NEOM Food and Helen Ziv-douki, global president of Cargill’s aqua nutrition business, were present in Riyadh for the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) in December 2022. The three parties will work together to explore and scale up sustainable ways to meet rising domestic demand for aquaculture, including through research and development into more sustainable feed sources.
"Aquaculture began in Saudi nearly 35 years ago, now it became one of the highest exports in the KSA, and as per the statistics, aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing food production sectors in the world. In Saudi we enjoy abundant natural resources along the west coastline (2,600 KM Long) where aquaculture can be a great potential opportunity to serve food security,” commented Nasser A Abanmi, ARASCO CEO.
“Additionally, we need aquaculture to help feed the world. By 2050, there will be 9.7 billion people on the planet according to the UN, and this growth will put huge pressure on food security and production in general. Fish in particular are aligned with ARASCO's mission to support food security in a sustainable way within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the Middle East. We look forward to working with NEOM and Cargill in this noble mission,” Abanmi said.
“Aquaculture offers the most sustainable way to produce protein in terms of water consumption and carbon emissions to arid countries such as Saudi Arabia. This agreement will ultimately lead to addressing the need to replace fishmeal by more sustainable fish feed,” said Dr Juan Carlos Motamayor, head of NEOM Food. “It aligns with NEOM’s efforts to facilitate the production and supply of sustainable seafood while protecting the marine environment. We look forward to working with ARASCO and Cargill to transform the seafood-production industry and minimise the environmental impact.”
“Providing sustainable protein to feed the growing population requires all of us working together,” Helen Ziv-douki, global president of Cargill’s aqua nutrition business commented. “We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with ARASCO and NEOM with the aim of producing the seafood the world needs while minimising its impact on the planet.”
A press release from NEOM says that the initiative helps meet the Kingdom’s plans and programmes to develop and diversify the Saudi economy as part of Vision 2030. A key component of the vision includes achieving self-sufficiency in industries including food, and developing export markets where possible.