Saudi Arabia bought 610,000 tons of hard wheat in a tender for shipment periods between December 1 and January 30 , the Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organisation (GSFMO) said.
The accepted origins are the European Union, North and South America and Australia at the sellers’ option, the GSFMO said.
The wheat is to be shipped in 10 consignments, with 310,000 tons for shipment to the port of Jeddah and 300,000 tons for Dammam, GSFMO Director General Waleed Elkhereiji said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia has become a major importer of hard and soft wheat since abandoning plans for self-sufficiency in wheat in 2008 as farming in the desert strained water supplies.
The kingdom has imported 2.7 million tons of wheat since the beginning of the year, the official SPA news agency quoted Elkhereiji as saying. It has also bought 660,000 tons of wheat from Saudi farmers.
Strategic wheat reserves are enough to cover Saudi Arabia’s needs for six months, the agency said.
The country aims to steadily reduce agriculture and plans to be completely reliant on imports by 2016 to save water.