The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Eng. Ahmed Al-Aiadh pointed out that the Ministry, along with farmers and the private sector, has been taken practical steps to activate e-marketing, which aims to make a quantum leap in the Kingdom's agriculture sector. To achieve that, they have drafted laws and regulations, including the comprehensive agricultural system and the agricultural strategy, which will soon be adopted, in addition to the agricultural register, the Saudi G.A.P and the cropping pattern in the Kingdom.
During a workshop held by the Ministry entitled "E-Marketing and Service Centers", Al-Aiadh said that the workshop's objectives are discussing agricultural e-marketing and the mechanism of its application in the Kingdom, demonstrating agricultural e-marketing objectives and economic benefits for both farmers and traders, inviting private sector investments, exploring the Italian successful experience in this area and highlighting the Ministry's actions towards activating this sector.
Al-Aiadh also indicated the services provided by the Ministry, including facilitating procedures for the private sector to establish agricultural marketing services centers, 19 centers by the end of 2018, pointing out that the expenses of laboratory analysis of the products will be borne by the Ministry for the upcoming biennium. In addition to that, the Ministry has encouraged central markets to undertake voluntary initiatives supporting these centers, discussed with MODON to support establishing these centers in their cities at favorable prices, and supported the Agricultural Development Fund, noting that the Ministry is currently working on the enactment of a decision limiting government agencies purchases in these centers.
For his part, Director General of Agricultural Research and Extension at the Ministry, Dr. Bandar Al-Saqhan, discussed the obstacles facing smallholder farmers such as marketing agricultural products and price fluctuations, confirming that agricultural e-marketing will reduce these risks.
Al-Saqhan noted that the main objectives of the agricultural marketing e-platform are to provide e-commerce services to all parties interested in marketing agricultural products and services, improve performance and efficiency, speed up commercial transactions and respond rapidly to market demands.
Al-Saqhan also stated that agricultural e-marketing offers many benefits; some of which are saving time, effort and money, reducing costs and expenses on all parties, providing many alternative options, lowering prices and promote competition, and providing after-sales logistics and product quality control, transportation and storage.
For his part, the Italian expert Marco Piacin presented the successful Italian experience in agricultural e-marketing, and highlighted the most important criteria for the success of the agricultural marketing e-platform; the quality of the infrastructure, content, and presentation, technical specifications, use of professional publishing software (photos, videos, and designs), an active social media and customer service services to achieve the objective of delivering high-quality products to customers in a timely manner.