FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

SIO and FAO launched new technical cooperation to strengthen national capacities in irrigation management

22 December 2021, Al Hasa – The Saudi Irrigation Organization (SIO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today agreed to further strengthen their long-standing technical cooperation and expand collaboration to support implementation of the national irrigation strategy in accordance with Saudi Vision 2030.

Within the ongoing framework of the Memorandum of Understanding between FAO and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia  (KSA) (2019-2025), two new project agreements aiming  at “promoting efficient irrigation and water productivity amongst farmers” and “enhancing national capacities for Irrigation Management” were signed at Al Hasa by the President of the Saudi Irrigation Organization (SIO),  Dr. Fuad bin Ahmed Al Sheikh Mubarak,  and on behalf of FAO Director General, by the FAO-KSA Programme Director, Dr. Abubakr Mohamed.  

The new collaboration with fund provision of USD 6.8 million, reinforces the country’s position among FAO’s leading resource partners worldwide and in the Near East. On signing the agreement, the SIO President Dr. Sheikh Mubarak, expressed that the new cooperation with FAO aims at ambition and commitment of the SIO to enhance national capacities to develop and manage the irrigation sector in the Kingdom by achieving sustainability and efficiency.  

Dr. Abubakr, at the signing ceremony thanked the SIO for the trust it places in FAO and for its constructive contributions to support the efforts aimed at promoting the country’s sustainable management and development of irrigation water system. Praising the country’s support for the FAO and its efforts, he said that the present technical collaboration agreements with SIO is built on the historical fact that first technical cooperation of FAO commenced in KSA in 1952 on irrigation development in Jazan. The association of FAO in KSA in development of irrigation water management strengthened further in past 15 years with implementation of four big UTF projects. The newly signed Project Agreements furthering the scope of the technical assistance provided by FAO in KSA. Backed with comprehensive assessment of irrigation systems in the country, the two projects inter alia will develop and design key interventions in wide ranging aspects of on-farm irrigation water use efficiency with applications of advance irrigation technologies and practices, efficient irrigation drainage management and developing Saudi codes and standards of irrigation practices and national irrigation database.