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Agri Overview 

Saudi Agriculture
Nusrat Mirza

Saudi Arabia's commitment to further agricultural development, the upgrading and expansion of its existing infrastructure and new project investment continues to provide a dynamic market for manufacturers and suppliers of agriculture technology.

In spite of the difficulties of scarce rain, meager subterranean water, limited local manpower and widely dispersed cultivated lands, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has achieved mammoth agricultural development. The country has become self-sufficient in various agricultural products.

More than half of the kingdom's cultivated area is in the central and Qaseem regions. In south of the country Gizan, Asir, Al-Baha and Najran combined rank second and while Al-Jouf, Tabouk and Hayel in the north rank third. The eastern and western regions together account for about 11% of the cultivated land.

The Saudi Government embarked an agricultural promotional program over 3 decades ago, as part of its overall strategy to diversify the structure of its economy away from oil. Saudi Arabia has succeeded over these years to modernize its agricultural sector by introducing new and modern technologies. The wheat out put reached over 4 million tons in 1993, which now has been set to the requirement of the country plus minus 1.5 million tons.

It is really amazing to note the progress achieved during these years in agricultural sector. In the mid 70s Saudi arable land did not exceed 150,000 ha and its wheat yield was 3000 tons, now the arable land exceeds over 2 million ha.

Saudi Arabia's strategy relied on capital-intense technologies, import of state-of-the-art farming technology and large scale operation. To over come water shortage, Saudi Arabia has chosen to adopt the best technology available any where in the world. For wheat and other crop production, modern equipment (like the center pivot irrigation system) has been used extensively. There are around 200 dams at various locations contributing to underground water storage, domestic water supply and protection from occasional floods.

The strategy was the same for vegetables and fruits. The introduction of greenhouses has given a big boost to the cultivation of a wide range of vegetables, and some flowers which have found export markets in Europe. These greenhouses, have computer controlled system to regulate the temperature and supply of water and fertilizers, which resulted in modernization of the basic production technologies in Saudi horticulture. The protected agriculture has also eliminated the seasonality in the supply of certain vegetables which are now available year round. As a result, agriculture has contributed to the progress of economic diversification taking place in the economy of the kingdom..

Wheat is produced in Saudi Arabia at present on self-sufficiency program. The agriculture sector employes plus minus half a million personnel. Though Saudi Arabia became one to the major wheat exporting countries world wide and has been decorated with many awards for the quality of its wheat from various organizations, including the FAO. However, it is important to note that Saudi wheat strategy was never aimed at exporting, but at self-sufficiency. Saudi Arabia did not intend to compete in the world wheat markets. The issue thus pertains to a notion of "Food security".

It is interesting to note that Saudi agriculture sector has achieved increasing growth averages. It has also reached almost at self-sufficiency in most agricultural products.

PRODUCTIONS 

VEGETABLES OVER 2.7 MILLION TONS
FRUITS OVER ONE MILLION TONS
CEREALS AROUND 2.2 MILLION TONS
DATES OVER 650,000 TONS

Apart from the very many farms, there are major joint stock share holding companies with paid up capital not less than SR.200 million, contributing to the growth and development to agricultural sector in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Some of the these companies are:

NADEC
TADCO
HADCO
AL-JOUF
GAZADCO
SHARQIA, IS ALSO THERE BUT MAY LITTLE LES IN P/U CAPITAL.

THERE ARE CERTAIN OTHER FARMS:
WATANIA, AL-RAJHI, AL-KHURAIF, AL-KHALIDIA, AL-RADHID, AL MIKAIRISH, INMA AND OTHERS.

THE AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION GIVES:

# QUALITY OF THE PRODUCTS
# SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND LESS DEPENDENCE
# EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNTIES IN THE REMOTE AREAS
# REDUCE MIGRATION TO URBAN AREAS
# CIRCULATION OF THE WEALTH AMONG VARIOUS BUSINESS SECTORS WITHIN THE COUNTRY. 
.
# DIVERSIFICATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF 
NON OIL SECTOR.

# FOOD SECURITY AND ESTABLISHING SELF-SUFFICIENCY.
SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND CAPABILITY IN PRODUCING QAULITY AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS.

NUSRAT MIRZA
BUSINESS DEV. & EXPORT MANAGER
NADEC - AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
RIYADH - KSA

TEL.404-0000 EXT 1490
FAX.405-5522 EXT 1490

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