development of its entire economic infrastructure. The agricultural sector received the biggest share of investment as one of the essential pillars of national production, while contributing to food security as well as social and demographic stability.
Agriculture in Saudi Arabia has achieved uninterrupted growth during successive development plans, leading to an increase in the Agricultural Domestic Product from SSR 990 million (appr. US$265 million) in 1970 to about SSR 37.7 billion (appr. US$ 10 billion) in 2004, with an annual increase in the growth rate of 11 percent. In 2005 the rate of the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for non-oil activities reached about 8 percent.
This has helped diversify the production base of the national economy and established a solid foundation for food security. Saudis' food consumption has increased from 1800 calories per day to around 3000 calories per day per person, to pass the individual rate in many developing nations and equal that of the industrialized countries.
During some 50 years of cooperation, FAO made significant contributions to the country’s development by establishing a number of research stations and specialized centres in Saudi Arabia, including an advisory service to the ministry of agriculture to help increase food production, conserve natural resources, and sustainably develop national capacities.
FAO and Saudi Arabia made specific efforts to strengthening the technical and institutional capacities, to:
- Conserve the genetic characteristics and improve the quality of the Arabian horse;
- Develop the date palm industry on a solid scientific basis;
- Enhance national capacities to sustainably develop the olive industry;
- Support Saudi initiatives for the production of high-quality olive and develop the olive oil trade in line with international standards;
- Expand and strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of agricultural research to develop the tropical and sub-tropical fruits in the region.
Media Relations, FAO
(+39) 06 570 52627