RIYADH: Led by a boost in investment and a significant increase in measures to promote sustainable development, Saudi Arabia’s agricultural gross domestic product witnessed over 38 percent growth in 2022 to reach SR100 billion ($26.6 billion) from SR72.25 billion in 2021.
During the 43rd session of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization General Conference, the Kingdom’s deputy minister of environment, water, and agriculture, Mansour Al-Mushaiti, stated that this marks the sector’s highest contribution to the GDP in its history, Al Arabiya reported.
Thanks to integrated water management, Saudi Arabia has achieved high levels of self-sufficiency in various crops, especially those utilizing modern technology. As a result, water consumption in agriculture has reduced from 86 percent to 70 percent, he added.
Al-Mushaiti emphasized that significant developments and investments made in the agricultural sector have positively impacted the GDP output.
He pointed out that the Kingdom has adopted several strategies, initiatives and programs to promote sustainable agricultural development and improve water management to preserve natural and environmental resources.
Saudi Arabia’s Agricultural Development Fund has adopted several lending policies that support modern technologies, which provide loans covering over 70 percent of the capital costs of agricultural projects.
Al-Mushaiti confirmed that the lending ratio increased greatly from SR500 million in 2015 to over SR7 billion in 2022.
These efforts align with UN FAO’s objectives of achieving global food security and combating hunger and poverty on a local, regional and international level.
The rise of the agricultural GDP has been consistent for a couple of years, as it achieved 7.8 percent growth in 2021 compared to 2020.
The jump is attributed to the Kingdom’s National Strategy for Agriculture 2030, which seeks to create a sustainable sector that achieves food and water security and economic, social and environmental developments.
The strategy also aspires to use modern technologies and practices to conserve natural resources and improve agriculture productivity while leveraging strategic partnerships with cooperatives, the private sector and research centers.