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Agricultural Development

 

 

Saudi ArabiaAgricultural Development in Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has achieved mammoth agricultural development, surmounting the difficulties of scarce rain, meager subterranean water, limited local manpower and widely dispersed cultivatable lands. The country has become self-sufficient in wheat, producing some four million tons in 1991(1411 H), up from 3,000 tons in 1970 (1390 H).

Through the Ministry of Agriculture, which was founded in 1953 (1373 H), the State has distributed free of charge to farmers and agricultural companies more than two million hectares of reclaimed uncultivated land. The State has also met 45% of the cost of agricultural equipment and 50% of the cost of fertilizers. It has also built agricultural roads to facilitate the transport of products from production to consumption sites. As part of its effort to support agriculture, the Saudi Government has built more than 200 dams to preserve rainwater, with an estimated storage capacity of 689 million cubic meters.

To finance this development, the Saudi Agricultural Bank was established in 1964(1383 H). Being a specialized agricultural bank, it extends long-term, interest-free loans to farmers and agricultural companies. The Saudi Government has also supplied seeds and saplings at nominal prices. It has afforded veterinary and agricultural guidance and plant protection services. Other measures include the purchase of strategic agricultural crops, such as wheat and barley at high prices, through the General Organization for Grain Silos and Flour Mills. The State has encouraged the establishment of a number of large agricultural companies, with a capital of no less than SR 300 million each.

More than half of the Kingdom's cultivated area (57%) is in the central Riyadh and Qasseem Regions. In the south of the country, Jizan, Asir, Al Baha and Najran combined rank second with nineteen percent of the cultivated land, while Al Jouf, Tabouk and Hayel in the north rank third with thirteen percent. The Eastern and Western Regions together account for eleven percent of the cultivated land.

 

Statistics About Agriculture
The Kingdom's annual wheat production reached 3.8 million tons in 1991 , up from 26,000 in 1970. It was then decided to diversify agricultural products, reducing wheat and expanding barley and fodder production. The aim is to meet the needs of the country's growing animal resources, whose numbers are as follows

  1. 6,000,000 sheep
  2. 3.3 million goats
  3. 413,000 camels
  4. 200,000 cattle.
  5. 50,000 fish
  6. 250 million broiler chickens
  7. 2.3 billion eggs

Meanwhile, the Kingdom's date production rose from 240,000 tons in 1970 (1390 H)to about 600,000 tons in 1995 (1415 H). The Kingdom has more than 13 million date palms.

Development of Water Resources
Since the country lacks rivers and permanent streams, the State has sought to develop water resources, drilling more than 40,810 artesian wells in addition to 52,327 traditional wells for drinking and agricultural purposes. As mentioned earlier, on top of this, the State has built more than 200 dams in various parts of the Kingdom for storing storm water, the biggest ones being the Najran Valley Dam (75 million cubic meters) and the Jizan Valley Dam (75 million cubic meters).

Water Desalination
The Government has made an exceptional effort to increase to twenty-five the number of water desalination plants on the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf coasts. Their daily total production capacity is estimated at 600 million cubic meters of fresh water. Some of these plants are used for power generation. Statistics show that these plants provide seventy percent of the daily consumption of fresh water and thirty percent of power consumption. The largest of these plants was set up in Jubail City on the Arabian Gulf coast, with a daily production capacity of 240 million gallons. The daily capacity of the desalination plants in Jeddah, Al Khobar, Makkah Al Mukarramah and Taif is 101.8 million, 57.5 million and 48 million gallons respectively. The daily capacity of plants supplying Al Madinah Al Munawwarah and Yanbu with desalinated water is twenty-five million gallons. The remaining daily capacity of 36 million gallons is shared by nine plants in Al Wajh, Dhiba, Khafji, Umluj, Farasan, Haql, Rabegh, Albirak and Asir. This remarkable Saudi success in the field of saline water conversion is highlighted by the fact that inland cities such as Riyadh, Makkah Al Mukarramah, Al Madinah Al Munawwarah and Abha are currently supplied with desalinated water.


 

 

 

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