In 2007 I flew to Saudi Arabia for GTZ to advise them on the conversion of a research station in the desert in the north, in Onaisa (100,000 inhabitants) to organic farming and for the first members of the newly founded organic association in Al Akza-Hofuf. My part was the organic animal husbandry, Siegfried Legel (71), whom I had not met since the 90s, for fodder production.
I flew from Riyadh by plane to Onaisa 400 km to the north, where I was picked up by the airport of Riath - the project worker, an Iraki with a German mother and studies in Witzenhausen. Two days I did a workshop with the station people. Working time and intensity is very low. At 13.00 it is already closing time. Were still on the seasonal date markets, where we were interviewed as so rare guests from abroad immediately by the television, newspaper and radio. Equally Saudi Arabia-wide known become. A short night spent in Riyadh, always *****, but little used. Two days another workshop with 15 organic farmers held in Al Akza-Hofuf 350 km in the east. It was a lot of fun, people very engaged. Who would have thought that 30 years ago? Even spent an evening on his farm with the Minister of Agriculture. They really support ecology. I really enjoyed the trip. With Siegfried Legel, Riath and the farmers it was a lot of fun.
- In 2008 I spent another 7 days in May in Riyadh, Hofuf (also on the Konigsfarm, wants to switch to eco) and on the largest dairy farm in the world with 37000 dairy cows, 12000 kg lactation output and 6000 litres of fossil water consumption per litre milk in the middle of the desert. Very exciting. But there is nothing ecological about it. Had an off-road vehicle and refueling was very cheap (0.09 € per litre instead of 1.50 € as in DE).
- 2012 I was in January for 7 days in Saudi Arabia, once again for the giz (the successor of the gtz). In Quassim, Gizan (southwest) and Hufufuf (east of the border to Bahrain) I held 3 workshops on organic animal husbandry in front of 100 organic farmers and consultants. Driving on 6 farms. All very different, but good farmers are not. Waste of water, animals not fed and everything wasted.
- 2013 my 4 stay in Saudi Arabia (now 7 days), on some organic farms already 4 times been, everything very pleasantly organized, by giz (Marco Hartmann, Felix Ruhland). I feel very comfortable there, even if I don't want to live there. Was in Quassim, Oniza, Jeddah, Riyadh, Jezan. With legel on the annual date market in Onaisa (a bowl (1,5-2 kg) of best date quality can cost 60€). He has been featured in newspapers and television all over the country as a rare and important visitor.
- On the farm with the Saudi Arabian Minister of Agriculture for an evening talk about organic farming (at Hufuf: I have been there 3 times, in 2012 the farm was quite run down, because the interests have shifted towards Clean Agriculture (huge greenhouses) and the water and money for organic farming have been turned off). Khat chewing with Mohamed (translator and employee at giz) on a farm at Gizam 2012 (I gave away marzipan pigs for it).