October 25, 2011
Saudi Arabia's 2011-12 grain imports to hit 12 million tonnes
Saudi Arabia's 2011-12 grain imports are forecast to reach 12 million tonnes as the government enlarges its inventory and makes up for declining domestic production, according to the UN Monday (Oct 24).
Imports of barley and corn, the desert kingdom's main source of feed for its livestock industry, are forecast at 6.7 million tonnes and 2.2 million tonnes respectively, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said.
Wheat imports are expected to rise to two million tonnes as the government seeks to "maintain current demand levels and with the aim to gradually expand national reserves to one year's consumption," said the FAO.
Domestic wheat output is expected to fall 13% to 1.1 million tonnes in 2011-12, the largest decrease in production of all the grains, as part of a programme to phase out all water-intensive agricultural crops by 2016.
Total grain production is forecast down 11% on year at 1.475 million tonnes, the FAO said.