Development in Saudi Arabia
Petrolium and Minerals
Industry & Electricity
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
- 6,000,000 sheep
- 3.3 million goats
- 413,000 camels
- 200,000 cattle.
- 50,000 fish
- 250 million broiler chickens
- 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).
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