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Saudi Arabia

Department: Technical Cooperation
Project Name: Agriculture and Fisheries Project (Saudi Arabia)
Project Description: In order to reduce the demand placed upon Saudi Arabia’s freshwater resources following the implementation of a 2006 policy to protect reserves of groundwater, authorities have sought to promote the cultivation of selected cash crops (palm dates) and the development of marine aquaculture (sea fish and shrimp). The country lacks for relevant experience and technical personnel, however, so as part of this project consultants will be dispatched to assist in establishing a stock of healthy date palm seedlings and in producing a disease-free stock of barramundi (sea bass) fry and, in turn, encouraging local fish farmers to cultivate produce other than farmed shrimp.

Overall, this project will:

  1. Establish micropropagation of Saudi Arabia’s unique and valuable date palm species, supplying high-quality and healthy seedlings to local farmers to grow.
  2. Research inflorescence techniques, conduct field trials and reduce the spread of weevil.
  3. Preserve germplasm and genetic material, including through a parent stock and in vitro techniques.
  4. Train researchers and technicians at relevant organizations through professional technical training.
  5. Produce a disease-free stock of barramundi (sea bass) fry for distribution to fish farmers.
  6. Investigate orange-spotted grouper spawning cycles.
  7. Cultivate a broodstock of gilthead seabream.
  8. Transfer larviculture techniques on to Saudi researchers.

Implementation Start Date: 2011/1/1
Implementation End Date: 2017/12/31
Source of Funding: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Project Objectives: The objectives of this project are to:
  1. Cultivate 200 date palm seedlings by tissue culture and produce a new variety; manage the 2-hectare date palm garden; provide Saudi Arabian researchers with guidance on using specific instruments and performing experiments relating to date palm cultivation.
  2. Offer technical advisory services and SPF barramundi juveniles to the private sector as part of extension work; introduce and cultivate the orange-spotted grouper and a broodstock of gilthead seabream; transfer the larviculture related technology to local researchers.
Executing Agency:
  1. Fisheries Research Center(Jeddah), Ministry of Agriculture
  2. National Agriculture& Animal Research Center(Riyadh), Ministry of Agriculture
Implementation Arrangement: TaiwanICDF will dispatch specialists to assist partner country to work the cooperation project.
Current Progress:

To the end of December 2016, the following activities have been completed:

In 2011:

1.    Harvested 1215 kg of camouflage grouper and produced 4,300 juveniles of squaretail coral trout; produced 200,000 post larvae of Indian white prawn.

2.    Produced 66,900somatic embryos of in vitro date palm and provided 6,750 plants to local farmers for production of new varieties.

In 2012:

1.    Produced a total of 370,000 juveniles, of which 127,000 were produced in August and 243,000 in December.

2.    Produced 65,200 somatic embryos of in vitro date palm and provided 4,075 plants to local farmers for production of new varieties.

In 2013:

1.    Produced 590,000 juvenile barramundi; introduced 100 gilthead seabream, which will be cultured as a broodstock.

2.    Produced 74,200 somatic embryos of in vitro date palm and provided 5,750 plants to local farmers for production of new varieties.

In 2014:

1.    Assisted six farmers to culture Asian Sea Bass; overall progrees of larviculture activities; 508,000 juveniles were sold.

2.    Tagged broodstocks of 39 barramundi and 47 orange-spotted grouper with biochips; conducted a four-month investigation into the reproductive biology of orange-spotted grouper for 6 months, finding that the oocysts of female fish were well developed while the male fish had remained immature; also, continue the broodstock culture of gilthead seabream.

3.    Produced 62,000 somatic embryos of in vitro date palm over 75.8 hectares; provided 7,580 plants to local farmers for production of new varieties.

4.    Conducted experiments on commercial varieties of date palm; maintained 12 varieties of date palm in test tubes and managed 200 seedlings in the 2-hectare date palm garden.

In 2015:

1.    Assisted six farmers to culture Asian Sea Bass; until now 39 sea bass were tagged with biochip.

2.    Well selected 24 tagged orange-spotted grouper as broodstock.   Contacted gonad investigation for 2 months, finding that the oocysts of female fish were well developed and 3 male fish were available.

3.    Grow-out culture of gilthead seabream is in progress. Biopsy and tagging were applied for all 63 fish.

4.    Produced 62,800 somatic embryos of in vitro date palm over 75.5 hectares; provided 7,550 plants to local farmers for production of new varieties.

5.    Conducted experiments on commercial varieties of date palm; maintained 12 varieties of date palm in test tubes and managed 200 seedlings in the 2-hectare date palm garden.

In 2016:

1.    Produced 62,000 somatic embryos of in vitro date palm over 76 hectares; provided 7,600 plants to local farmers for production of new varieties.

2.    Date palm micro-propagation by inflorescence and greenhouse acclimatization; maintained 12 varieties of date palm in test tubes and managed 200 seedlings in the 2-hectare date palm garden.

3.    Assisted eight farmers to culture Asian Sea Bass; until now 39 sea bass were tagged with biochip: 126,116 juveniles were sold.

4.    Well selected 6 tagged orange-spotted grouper as broodstock. Contacted gonad investigation for 4 months, finding that  the oocysts of female not reach spawning size and 6 male fish were available.

5.    Grow-out culture of gilthead seabream is in progress. Biopsy and tagging were applied for all 63 fish.

Project Contact: Chen, Chao-Yeh
Phone: 886-2-28732323 Ext.217
E-mail: c.y.chen@icdf.org.tw
Projected Benefits:
  1. Improve technologies associated with date palm cultivation, establish crop production systems and increase the varieties of crops cultivated.
  2. Produce 150,000 date palms per year over 1,500 hectares, for a total yield of 7.5 million kg worth US$60 million per year.
  3. Establish marine fish cultivation models; produce 100,000 kg of Epinephelus polyphekadion worth US$4 million per year over 10 hectares.
Mission: Taiwan Technical Mission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sector: Production Sectors
Sector Item: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Cooperating Country: West and Central Asia, Saudi Arabia
Project status: Projects under implementation
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  • Date:2014/1/6
  • Date Updated:2016/12/7
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