Saudi Arabia to import 625,000 tons of wheat to strengthen strategic stock

SAUDI ARABIA – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is taking steps to boost it strategic wheat stocks amid supply disruptions occasioned by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. 

 According to the Saudi Gazette, the Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) has completed the procedures for importing 625,000 tons of wheat from Europe, North and South America, and Australia. 

SAGO is the exclusive importer of subsidized food grade wheat in Saudi Arabia and imports mainly hard wheat directly through public tenders and open to registered international exporters. 

Governor of SAGO Eng. Ahmad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Fares said the new import orders are within the framework of strengthening the strategic stock of wheat, maintaining it at safe levels and meeting all the needs of milling companies. 

He added that this batch will be supplied during the period between September and November 2022 and will be distributed in 10 shipments. 

1 shipment will be destined to Jeddah Islamic Port (63,000 tons), 6 shipments for Yanbu Commercial Port (379,000 tons), shipments for King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam 128,000 tons and ) shipment for Jazan Port (55,000 tons). 

Al-Fares pointed out that with the completion of this tender, the organization has contracted to import about 2.6 million tons of wheat during the current year. 

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SAGO’s imports comes at a time when Saudi wheat production during the MY 2020/21 is estimated to reduce by approximately 100,000 MT to 400,000 MT, according to USDA data. 

This is a result of an estimated reduction in wheat production area from 71,000 to 67,000 hectares (HA) as many farmers found it more profitable to produce alfalfa than wheat this MY. 

Estimated MY 2020/21 Saudi wheat consumption remained at 3.5 MMT based on data provided by SAGO, which is similar to USDA’s official forecast.  

According to SAGO, no wheat is used as animal feed in the Kingdom. All wheat, both imported and locally grown, is exclusively used for milling for human consumption. 

Wheat is mostly consumed in the form of flat (pita) bread, local hamburger buns known as “Samoli”, and other western-style bread, such as French baguettes and pizza. 

 The annual per capita consumption of wheat in Saudi Arabia (total population – 34.2 million) was estimated at approximately 103 kg in 2019. 

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