The cultivated areas in the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia increased, in 1418 AH, to more than 4,885,000 hectares,
while the areas of land suitable for cultivation reached about 53
Thanks to the wise agricultural
policy adopted by the Saudi Government, despite scarcity of irrigation
water, the Saudi agricultural policy has proved a great success.
Economic observers and agricultural
organizations view the Saudi agricultural experience as a unique one
because it has turned the country from an importer of agricultural
products to an exporter of these products.
In recognition of the big strides
made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the field of agricultural
development, a number of agricultural organizations have awarded the
Kingdom merit certificates and medals.
Earlier, the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) awarded the Kingdom the Medal of Agricola in
recognition of its pioneering role in the field of agricultural
development. The Kingdom has also received a merit certificate from
The Kingdom has changed, in a very
short span of time, from a wheat importer to a wheat exporter.
In the light of current and future
trends for a strategy of agricultural development that aims for the
realization of food and water security, in a manner that realizes
agricultural development and diversification of the production base,
changes have taken place in the production of agricultural crops in
In the period from 1994 to 1997,
production of crops declined from 4.86 million tons to 2.34 million
tons, but production of vegetables increased. By the end of 1997, the
areas allocated for production of cereals and fodders amounted to
955,000 hectares, while the areas allocated for fresh vegetables,
notably tomatoes, water melons, potatoes and cucumbers, amounted to
about 161,000 hectares.
In 1997, the Kingdom produced
1,150,000 tons of fruit in an area of more than 146,000 hectares, and
650,000 tons of dates in an area of 106,000 hectares. In 1997, the
Kingdom produced 451,000 tons of poultry and about 2.39 billion eggs.
Animal resources amounted to 280,000
heads of cows, 15.5 million heads of sheep and 790,000 camels. In the
same year, the Kingdom produced 816,000 tons of dairy products,
157,000 tons of red meat and 54,000 tons of fish.
Realizing the importance of water in
agricultural development, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water has
been giving great attention to the development of sources of ground
water through the setting up of dams in the valleys. It has already
set up 187 dams of various sizes with storage capacity of 777 million
cubic meters and at a total cost of about SR three billion. Thirteen
dams are currently under implementation, and arrangements are underway
to build another 12 dams.