Currently, agriculture, food systems and supply chains are facing multiple challenges: The Covid pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, natural calamities caused by climate change, supply chain disruption and inflation have all exacerbated global food insecurity.
The looming food security crisis has not come as much of a surprise to Saudi Arabia. After the 2008 food crisis, the country prepared to strengthen its food reserves by encouraging local farmers to harness the techniques of smart agriculture and by sourcing food internationally. Since then, Saudi Arabia has achieved a high level of self-sufficiency in eggs, dairy produce, vegetables and fruit.
In 2019, the total production of dates was 1.5 million tons, a self-sufficiency rate of 125 percent, while vegetable production reached approximately 1.6 million tons, a self-sufficiency rate of 60 percent.
Potato production reached nearly 403,000 tons, making the Kingdom 92 percent self-sufficient in this sector. Fruit and citrus production stood at 650,000 tons, a 35 percent rate of self-sufficiency; this marked a significant increase compared to 2016, when production reached 266,000 tons (a 15 percent rate of self-sufficiency), according to the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.