Saudi Arabia has abandoned its own domestic wheat production program and is investing heavily in foreign agricultural production projects—many in Africa. The country’s goal is to ensure its food security and help stabilize domestic food prices.
Citing The Brock Report as its source, the article says the Saudis are urging companies to invest in farm projects abroad after dropping their own 30-year old domestic wheat program to reduce water usage. One private Saudi firm is reportedly planning to spend 400 million dollars by 2011 to produce wheat and corn in Egypt and Sudan.
Brownfield's Jerry Passer added some personal comments after reading Ken's piece:
Interesting, I visited one of the Bedouin farms where wheat was being grown in Saudi Arabia. As I remember, the U.S. Foreign Ag Service was heavily involved in this project. The program was in its infancy and they were optimistic at that time (about 25 years ago) they could become self- sufficient in wheat production. Seemed strange to see wheat growing out of the sand.
The Bedouin farmer had hired a U.S. farmer to come in and run the operation. I believe he was from Ohio.
It doesn’t surprise me that the Saudis are investing in crop production in Egypt. We also visited there on the same trip with Agriculture Secretary Block. The Egyptians had several areas where they were growing onions and edible beans. I have a slide of the biggest onions I have ever seen growing out of the sand.