Jul 13 2011
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Saudi Arabia: Nitaqat gets 95 percent of farmers in Red Zone
The farmers here claim that agriculture sector is different from others and not attractive to Saudis because the work requires long hours under the sun and away from urban areas.
Ali Al-Marzouq, a farmer, said most farmers fear the impact of the new plan because it is hard to find Saudis who want to do the work, the salaries are very low - ranging between SR600 and SR800 - and the work requires being at the farm from early morning until sunset.
Abdul Hakeem Mahfouz, another farmer, said the Ministry of Labor requires farms to have a total of five to ten percent Saudis among their workforce. It certainly is a very high percentage for farmers if they want to avoid failing under the Red Zone, he said.
"It is very difficult to find this five percent, at least now," he said.
Mahfouz called on the Ministry of Labor to "look into the matter realistically" and implement special policies for the agriculture sector because it is different from other economic activities in which officials want to increase the Saudization quota.
Hussein Madan, another farmer, said being under the Red Zone of Nitaqat would leave farmers unable to work effectively or renew workers' visas. This would cause a supply-and-demand gap and increase prices of the local agricultural products, he added.
Madan called on the Ministry of Labor to intervene and "support and preserve the huge investments that were injected into reclamation of millions of square meters in the last few years."
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