Beginning and establishment:
Agriculture gained attention from the government in 1927 when it became recognized as a crucial aspect of life, wealth, and the economy. His Highness King AbdulAziz, may Allah have mercy on him, ratified the Shura Council's decision in 1932. This decision exempted all agricultural implements from customs duties and aimed to enhance the agricultural movement in Saudi Arabia. The country began importing agricultural machinery and equipment to offer farmers at affordable prices through the Ministry of Finance. This marked the start of a growing interest in agriculture, leading to subsequent developments:
- In 1947 the Directorate-General for Agriculture was founded under the Ministry of Finance. Its responsibilities included land reform, irrigation improvement, water pump distribution, dam and canal, spring and well excavation, loans to farmers, and collaboration with agricultural experts to modernize farming practices.
- In 1953, the Directorate-General for Agriculture evolved into the Ministry of Agriculture and Water following Royal Decree No. (5/21/1/4951) dated 24/12/1953. The ministry operated with six agricultural units across cities like Riyadh, Kharj, Ahsaa, Madinah, Jazan, and Buraidah. It also established a Water and Dam Affairs office.
- In 1961, the Agricultural Affairs Agency, and the Water Affairs Agency were established.
- In 1965, the High Committee for Administrative Reform divided the Ministry of Agriculture into two departments: Agriculture Affairs and Administrative and Financial Affairs.
- In 1970, the Desalination Affairs Agency was formed, later becoming the Saline Water Conversion Corporation in 1974.
- The Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organization came under the Ministry of Agriculture and Water's authority as per Council of Ministers Resolution No. (34) dated 21/10/1985, endorsed by Royal Decree No. (M / 3) on 24/11/1985.
- In 2002, Royal Order No. (27482) On 15/09/2002 separated the water sector from the Ministry of Agriculture, establishing an independent Ministry of Water.
- In 2016, Royal Decree No. (A / 133) dated 07/05/2016 changed the Ministry of Agriculture's name to the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture. This decree assigned the ministry tasks and responsibilities related to water and environmental matters. The ministry now comprises the following agencies:
• The Deputy-Ministry for Environment.
• The Deputy-Ministry for Agriculture.
• The Deputy-Ministry for Land & Survey.
• The Deputy-Ministry for Research and Invention.
• The Deputy-Ministry for Planning and Institutional Excellence.
• The Deputy-Ministry for Shared Services.
• The Deputy-Ministry for Economic and Privatization Affairs.
• The Deputy-Ministry for Deputy-Ministry for Regulatory Affairs.
• The Deputy-Ministry for Beneficiary Services and Branch Affairs.
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 Institutions and Companies :
Agricultural Development Fund.
General Food Security Authority (GFSA).
General Organization for Irrigation.
General Organization for the Conservation of Coral Reefs and Turtles in the Red Sea.
King Abdulaziz Arabian Horse Center.
National Water Company.National Center for Meteorology.National Center for Environmental Compliance.National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification.National Center for Waste Management.
National Center for Wildlife.
National Agricultural Services Company.
National Center for the Prevention and Control of Plants and Animal Diseases.
National Research and Development Center for Sustainable Agriculture (Estidamah).
Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC)
Saudi Water Partnership Company.
Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC).
The Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program (REF).
- 1- Overseeing and enhancing environmental, water, and agricultural matters within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- 2- Coordinating with the Agricultural Development Fund to offer financial aid, loans, and equipment to farmers.
- 3- Assisting farmers in adopting contemporary farming techniques.
- 4- Preparing previously unused lands for agricultural use and allocating them to citizens for cultivation.
- 5- Safeguarding the plant cover of rangelands, irrigated pastures, and forests to support development and reforestation efforts.
- 6- Protecting the natural agricultural environment, fisheries, and aquatic ecosystems.
- 7- Supplying irrigation water for farming using wells, dams, and earthen dams.
- 8- Boosting the export of surplus agricultural, livestock, and fish products to international markets.
- 9- Enhancing the local food production capacity.
- 10- Advancing agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and associated industries.
- 11- Human Resource and Workforce Development.
- 12- Achieving food self-sufficiency.
- 13- Engaging in applied research with the goal of introducing cutting-edge methodologies within the realm of agriculture, livestock, and fisheries.
- 14- Undertake the planning, execution, management, and upkeep of irrigation and drainage initiatives, along with the distribution of irrigation water to enhance the effective utilization of these assets.
- 15- Protecting and fostering the aquatic ecosystems.
- 16- Implement stringent safeguards for agricultural and animal resources by enforcing animal and plant quarantine systems across Saudi Arabia's land, air, and sea ports.
Ministry Leaders Since Its Establishment:
1- His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz (1953-1955)
2- H.E. Mr. Abdul Aziz Al-Sudairi (1955-1956)
3- H.E Mr. Khalid Al-Sudairi (1956-19600)
4- H.E. Mr. Abdullah Al-Dabbagh (1960-1962)
5- H.E. Mr. Abdulrahman Al-Sheikh (1962-1962)
6- H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Al-Swailem from (1962-1964)
7- H.E. Mr. Hassan Al-Mishari (1964-1975)
8- H.E. Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sheikh (1975-1994)
9 - H.E. Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Khuwaiter on behalf of (1994-1995)
10 - H.E. Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Muammar (1995-2003)
11 - H.E. Dr. Fahd bin Abdulrahman Balghanaim (2003-2014)
12- H.E. Eng. Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji (2014-2015)
13 – H.E. Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen Al-Fadley (2015 to present)
From mid-2003 to mid-2016, the water sector operated as an autonomous ministerial organization named the Ministry of Water and Electricity. Throughout that timeframe, the ministry was under the leadership of the following ministers:
• H.E. Dr. Ghazi Abdul Rahman Al-Gosaibi (2003-2004)
• H.E. Eng. Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al-Hussain (2004-2016)