The Ministry of Agriculture has punished 168 Saudis and expatriates for transporting palm seedlings without carrying certificates issued by the ministry that ensure the seedlings are not infected by red palm weevils.
“Transporting palm seedlings without certificate is a clear violation of our regulations,” the ministry said. “All trucks carrying palm seedlings will be checked and those who do not possess certificates issued by the ministry will be punished,” it added.
The ministry said trucks carrying such seedlings without certificates would be caught and parked at the nearest police station until the fine is paid.
Fahd Al-Saaqan, director of the department for agricultural protection, said a fine of SR 5,000 would be imposed on each violator for the first time, adding that the fine would double if the violation is repeated.
He commended ministry officials as well as security officers for keeping a watch on people carrying palm seedlings to different parts of the Kingdom without permission.
“There are some people who exploit the ignorance of truck drivers in transporting unauthorized palm seedlings from one city to another,” Al-Saaqan said.
He said the cities that apply agricultural quarantine include Qatif, Al-Ahsa, Wadi Al-Dawasser and Al-Kharj as well as Quraieya, Dareya, Riyadh, Tabuk and Najran, Unaizah, Riyadh Al-Khobara, Buraidah and Bakeriya.
He urged Saudis and expatriates not to carry any palm seedlings from one farm to another or one city to another or one region to another without the ministry’s permission.