HE the Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen A. AlFadley, said that unlike many countries suffered from derailed food supply chains due to COVID-19, the Food Security Strategy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia succeeded in overcoming supply chain disruption that affected the food supply globally.
Saudi Arabia has given an example by implementing the Food Security Strategy in cooperation with the private sector. This was the result of the work the ministry began four years ago and is reaping its reward during the current crisis.
AlFadley stressed that the wise leadership of Saudi Arabia has supported and adopted the Food Security Strategy launched in line with the Saudi Vision 2030, which in turn contributed to promoting food security during the Coronavirus pandemic.
"Despite the severity of the Coronavirus pandemic crisis and its severe impact on the food supply chains in the world, the Kingdom has overcome this through the strength and durability of its food and agricultural security," AlFadley said in a statement.
AlFadley stated that the abundant supplies of high-quality food and agricultural products during the crisis, especially curfew hours, demonstrated successful strategy and consumer trust in the Kingdom.
He pointed out that the ministry's efforts to use the comparative advantage each region has with respect to climate and abundance of water and the agricultural technologies have made the agricultural sector achieve high growth and self-sufficiency in food production, as Saudi Arabia GDP from agriculture grew to SR61.4 billion at constant prices, equivalent to 4% of the non-oil GDP.
He confirmed that this growth in self-sufficiency in food production has brought an increase in the quality of agricultural products, and a reduction in the use of groundwater for agricultural purposes, which amounted to more than 10 billion cubic meters in 2019.
AlFadley pointed out that the Kingdom has ranked 30th in the Global Food Security Index (GFSI) out of 113 countries, a jump of two places compared to the previous ranking.
He said that as the Agricultural Development Fund increased loans to SR1.9 billion in 2019, the sector grows, and the number of employees increases. And due to the great support that the agriculture sector receives from the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the Kingdom achieved top positions in the global index while taking confident steps forward.
"Today, the Kingdom has the largest storage capacity in the Middle East for wheat and flour with more than 3.3 million tons. It has also reliable food supply chains with a daily production capacity that could meet consumers' needs and ensure access to food in sufficient quantity and quality," he said.
He hails the citizens’ awareness for their responsible shopping and trust in the Kingdom's efforts, which helped to achieve abundant and affordable food supplies.
He also lauded the continuous coordination between the ministry and the private sector for raising the production and marketing efficiency of the agriculture sector.
AlFadley emphasized that today the Kingdom has achieved unprecedented levels of self-sufficiency in many agricultural products, including dates exceeding 125%, 60% in vegetables and poultry, 116% in eggs, 109 in fresh milk and 55% in fish.
He confirmed that the Kingdom is moving forward in developing a sustainable agricultural system in a manner that promotes its food security and preserves natural resources. It is also expanding agricultural investment activities abroad in countries that have comparative advantages.