16 January 2023
Dutch Greenhouse Delta, a provider of Dutch expertise in protected cropping, in collaboration with the HortiRoad2theGulf, a programme to help Saudia Arabia, the UAE and Qatar reach food self-sufficiency, has appointed Dr Al-Harbi as its new liaison manager. Dr Al-Harbi will support positioning the Dutch horticultural sector and the public-private PIB HortiRoad2theGulf cluster to gain market access in Saudi Arabia.
Dr Al-Harbi is a professor of horticulture in Saudi Arabia. His research focuses on greenhouses, hydroponics, and related subjects. He has consulted government and private companies on new technology and innovation in protected cultivation.
Dr Al-Harbi also participated in the establishment of Saudi Arabia’s National Research and Development Center for Sustainable Agriculture (Estidamah). He works for the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), which executes the PIB HortiRoad2theGulf programme as commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is stationed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The public-private partnership HortiRoad2theGulf started in 2021 and helps Dutch companies jointly to realize their ambitions in the Gulf. Currently, 23 companies and knowledge institutes, supported by the Dutch government, work together to improve sustainable food production and reduce food losses in the Gulf region. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is by far the largest market in the Gulf and is currently on the brink of stepping up its interest in high-tech agriculture solutions. The PIB HortiRoad2theGulf cluster made several trips to Saudi the last few years and as a result, the large agricultural funds and the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture (MEWA) have expressed interest in collaborating with the Dutch in water and horticulture.
Dr Al-Harbi gained extensive knowledge about the full extent of the challenges and opportunities of the horticulture sector in the Gulf and in Saudi Arabia specifically. He is well-known with the relevant authorities, knowledge institutions, and private local companies. This extensive network of contacts will help the PIB HortiRoad2TheGulf to attain its objectives in Saudi Arabia. As a liaison officer, Dr. Al-Harbi will support the cluster with lobbying and networking, initializing and following up on projects and business opportunities, as well as executing promotional activities. He will represent the Dutch sector and the cluster during expositions, missions, roadshows, and other trade events, and invite potential useful commercial, government, and media contacts from Saudi Arabia.
Dr Al-Harbi also supports the cluster in gaining access to the decision-makers and companies, in cooperation with the Dutch government and representation abroad. He is the focal point for local governments, research institutions, and possible future business partners. Besides, he identifies opportunities for the group of companies and connects them with the sector and companies in the target country. In commenting on his new role Dr Alharbi says, ‘’Together, we would like to improve the efficiency of the horticulture sector and contribute to food security and sustainability in Saudi Arabia.’’