Saudi Arabia’s agriculture development fund has notified that the country has allotted 2 billion riyals ($533.3 million) towards importing agriculture products and food supplies during market uncertainties created by the COVID-19 spread.
The drive, which will be conducted via a mix of direct and indirect loans, will focus on importing rice, sugar, soybeans and yellow corn in the first phase. The rest of the products will be attached according to market needs and for food security, the organization mentioned in a statement.
“This initiative … (aims) to meet development priorities and economic needs within the urgent initiatives approved by the Saudi Government to address the impacts of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19),”
– Fund statement
The statement elaborated further on its additional goal to “mitigate the expected economic impacts on private sectors and economic activities, including the agricultural sector”
Saudi Arabia has become more reliant on grain imports and has become a significant importer of wheat and barley, since dropping plans in 2008 to become self-sufficient as desert farming was depleting scarce water resources.