Saudi Arabia country overview

The economy of Saudi Arabia

Geography, People, Culture, and Economic Profile

Saudi Arabia information index

Agriculture, fishing and forestry of Saudi Arabia

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia initially had a simple, tribal economy with a majority of the population being nomads who raised camels, sheep, and goats. Agricultural production was localized and focused on subsistence. However, the government has prioritized domestic food production in its development plans and has provided subsidies and incentives to the agriculture sector. Despite these efforts, agriculture now only contributes a small portion to the Saudi GDP and employs a comparable proportion of the workforce.

Crop cultivation in Saudi Arabia is a complex and diverse practice that involves various methods of irrigation and farming techniques. Despite its arid climate and limited water resources, the country has managed to efficiently utilize its land for agricultural purposes. One of the most common methods of cultivation in Saudi Arabia is rain-fed dry farming, particularly in the region of Asir. This method relies solely on rainwater for irrigation, making it a sustainable option for areas with limited access to water sources. However, due to the unpredictable nature of rainfall, farmers in these regions often face challenges in maintaining consistent crop yields. In contrast, tree crops cover a significant portion of cultivated land in Saudi Arabia, accounting for two-fifths of the total area. These crops, such as dates, citrus fruits, and olives, require specific growing conditions and irrigation methods to thrive in the arid climate. Farmers in regions like Al-Qaṣīm and Al-Hufūf in Al-Sharqiyyah province rely on underground water sources for irrigation to ensure the successful growth of tree crops. Irrigated farming is another important aspect of crop cultivation in Saudi Arabia, accounting for the remaining portion of cultivated land. This method involves the controlled delivery of water to crops through various irrigation systems, such as drip irrigation or sprinklers. By utilizing advanced irrigation techniques, farmers in regions like Riyadh can efficiently manage water resources and maximize crop yields. Overall, crop cultivation in Saudi Arabia is a testament to the country’s innovative agricultural practices and ability to overcome challenging environmental conditions. Through a combination of rain-fed dry farming, tree crop cultivation, and irrigation, farmers in Saudi Arabia continue to produce a diverse range of crops and contribute to the country’s food security.

The kingdom’s agricultural sector has made significant strides in recent years, achieving self-sufficiency in the production of wheat, eggs, and milk. These key staples are now produced in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of the population, reducing reliance on imports and ensuring food security for the kingdom. Wheat is the primary cultivated grain in the kingdom, with vast tracts of land dedicated to its cultivation. Sorghum and barley also play a significant role in the kingdom’s agricultural output, providing additional sources of grain for the population. In addition to grains, the kingdom also produces a variety of fruits and vegetables. Dates, melons, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash are among the most widely cultivated crops in the kingdom. These fruits and vegetables not only provide essential nutrients to the population but also contribute to the kingdom’s economy through export opportunities. While the kingdom has made impressive progress in achieving self-sufficiency in certain food products, it still relies heavily on food imports for other items. The government is actively working to diversify the agricultural sector and increase production in key areas to further reduce dependence on imports and strengthen food security for the kingdom’s population.

In addition to the challenges of limited water supply and poor soil quality in Saudi Arabia, the country also faces environmental concerns such as desertification and water scarcity. Desertification, the process of land degradation in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors including climatic variations and human activities, has become a prevalent issue in the region. To combat desertification and water scarcity, the Saudi government has implemented various initiatives and projects. One of the main strategies is the construction of concrete and earth-filled dams in the southwest region to store water for irrigation and flood control. These dams not only help conserve water resources but also contribute to the overall sustainability of the agricultural sector in the country. Furthermore, agricultural expansion in Saudi Arabia has primarily focused on irrigated areas where water resources are more abundant. This has led to a decrease in the land area dedicated to rain-fed farming, as farmers rely more on irrigation to meet their water needs. However, the reliance on irrigation systems has raised concerns about the sustainability of water resources, especially as the aquifers in the central and eastern parts of the country are difficult to replenish. In conclusion, while Saudi Arabia has made significant progress in addressing the challenges of limited water supply and poor soil quality in agriculture, the country still faces environmental issues such as desertification and water scarcity. It is crucial for the government to continue investing in sustainable farming practices and water management strategies to ensure the long-term viability of the agricultural sector in the country.

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