Beginning and establishment:
The government shed light on agriculture since 1927, when agriculture was considered a significant source of life, wealth, and economy. His Highness King AbdulAziz - may Allah have mercy on him - had ratified the Decision of the Shura Council, which provided for exemption to all agricultural implements from customs duties, and development of agricultural movement in Saudi Arabia by importing some agricultural machinery and equipment in 1932 to be distributed by the Ministry of Finance among farmers at affordable prices. Since then, there has been a growing interest in the agriculture during the following phases:
• In 1947, the Directorate-General for Agriculture was established in and linked to the Ministry of Finance, with the task of reforming lands, improving irrigation, distributing water pumps, building dams and canals, digging springs and artesian wells, providing loans to farmers, and cooperating with some agricultural technical expertise for training farmers and guiding them toward modern agricultural methods.
• In 1953, the Directorate-General for Agriculture was later transformed into the Ministry of Agriculture and Water by Royal Decree No. (5/21/1/4951) dated 24/12/1953. The Ministry has functioned well since then with six agricultural units located in several cities: Riyadh, Kharj, Ahsaa, Madinah, Jazan, Buraidah, and established an office in the Ministry for water and dam’s affairs.
• In 1961, the Agricultural Affairs Agency, and the Water Affairs Agency were established.
• In 1965, the High-Committee for Administrative Reform has issued resolution No. (8) dated 16/10/1965, which provided for dividing the Ministry of Agriculture into two main departments.
-The Agriculture Affairs
-The Administrative and Financial Affairs.
• In 1970, the Desalination Affairs Agency was established; which was later changed to the Saline Water Conversion Corporation in 1974.
• The Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organization was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water under the Council of Ministers Resolution No. (34) dated 21/10/1985 that was endorsed by the Royal Decree No. (M / 3) on 24/11/1985.
• In 2002, Royal Order No. (27482) was promulgated in 15/09/2002, which separated the water sector from the Ministry of Agriculture, and established an independent Ministry of Water.
• In 2016, the Royal Decree No. (A / 133) dated 07/05/2016 was issued to abolish the Ministry of Water and Electricity and to amend the name of the Ministry of Agriculture to be the “Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture”, to which tasks and responsibilities related to water and environmental affairs were assigned. The Ministry now consists of the following directorates:
• The Directorate of Environment
• The Directorate of Water Affairs
• The Directorate of Water Services
• The Directorate of Agriculture
• The Directorate of Land and Survey
• The Directorate of Animal Resources
• The Directorate of Planning and Development
The Ministry has given its attention to its administrative bodies in the regions, where the directorates of water has a total number of (14) with 140 units. There are also (13) general administrations for agriculture affairs with (12) directorates, (119) branches for agriculture affairs, (24) agricultural quarantines (plant and animal quarantines), the international equine quarantine station in Janadria and King Abdul Aziz Arabian Horses Center at Dirab, (13) veterinary units;(7) centers and units for agricultural researches, (13) centers and branches for fisheries affairs and researches, a national center for locusts control and migratory pests in Makkah, a center for the production of veterinary vaccines in Riyadh, (4) agricultural training centers, (8) laboratories for veterinary diagnosis and (6) National parks. In addition, there are 538 water dams with a production capacity of more than (5.6) billion, and the average daily consumption of water in the Kingdom is more than (8) million cubic meters.
The Ministry Is Associated with Several Public Institutions and Companies with Legal Personality:
- National Water Company
- Saudi Grain Organization (SAGO)
- Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC)
- Saudi Wildlife Authority
- General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection
- Saudi Irrigation Organization
- Agricultural Development Fund
- SALIC Company
- Water and Electricity Company
1. Supervising and developing the environment, water and agriculture affairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
2. Providing subsidies, loans and equipment to farmers in coordination with the Agricultural Development Fund.
3. Guiding farmers to adopt modern farming practices.
4. Preparing uncultivated lands suitable for agriculture and granting these lands to citizens to cultivate them.
5. Preserving the vegetation cover of rangelands or irrigated pastures and forests for development and afforestation.
6. Preserving of the wild agricultural environment and the fisheries and aquatic environment.
7. Providing irrigation water suitable for agriculture through wells, dams and earth dams.
8. Encouraging the export of surplus agricultural, livestock and fish production to destinations outside the Kingdom.
9. Increasing the potential production of local food.
10. Developing agriculture, livestock, fisheries and related industries.
11. Developing resources and manpower.
12. Self-sufficiency of food, plant and animal products and their derivatives.
13. Conduct applied research aimed at introducing advanced approaches in the field of agriculture, livestock and fisheries.
14. Designing, implementing, operating, and maintenance of irrigation and drainage projects, and distributing irrigation water to promote the efficient use of these resources.
15. Protecting, investing and developing living aquatic resources (fishing in the seas, fish farming). Conducting a survey of the areas of fish populations in the seas and their quantities, disseminating this information to beneficiaries and fishermen, and encouraging the use of modern fishing techniques.
16. Protecting agricultural and animal resources through the application of animal and plant quarantine systems on the Saudi’s land, air and sea ports.
Ministry Leaders Since Its Establishment:
1- His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz from 24/12/1953 to 05/11/1955.
2- HE Mr. Abdul Aziz Al-Sudairi from 05/11/1955 to 18/01/1956
3- HE Mr. Khalid Al-Sudairi from 18/01/1956 to 21/12/1960
4- HE Mr. Abdullah Al-Dabbagh from 21/12/1960 to 15/03/1962.
5. HE Mr. Abdulrahman Al-Sheikh from 15/03/
1962 to 31/10/1962.
HE Mr. Ibrahim Al-Swailem from 31/10/1962 to 29/08/1964.
7- HE Mr. Hassan Al-Mishari from 29/08/1964 to 13/10/1975.
8- HE Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sheikh from 13/10/1975 to 08/11/1994.
9 - HE Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Khuwaiter on behalf of 08/11/1994 to 01/08/1995.
10 - HE Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Muammar from 01/08/1995 to 06/05/2003.
11 - HE Dr. Fahd bin Abdulrahman Balghanaim from 06/05/2003 to 08/12/2014.
12- HE Eng. Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji from 09/12/2014 to 05/02/2015 .
13 - HE Eng. Abdulrahman Al Fadley from 06/02/2015 to present.
The water sector was an independent ministerial body, the Ministry of Water and Electricity, since mid-2003 to mid-2016 when it was headed by the following ministers:
• HE Dr. Ghazi Abdul Rahman Al Gosaibi (2003-2004)
• Eng. Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al-Hussain (2004-2016)