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Agriculture flourishes in Saudi Arabia
Riyadh, Feb 14th, 2001
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 million hectares.

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 FAO.

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 the Kingdom.

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.

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15 February 2001 06:40:08 PM

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