Saudi Arabia has boosted its agricultural sector with a new two-billion riyals ($533.3 million) instalment. The country is ready to fund importing agriculture products and secure food supplies amid coronavirus fears.
The generous financial support became a part of urgent initiatives approved by the Saudi Government to address the impacts of the novel infection, the country’s Agriculture Development Fund confirmed on Tuesday.
The financial support planned to be carried out through a mixture of direct and indirect loans, while its general aim is to mitigate the expected negative impacts on private sectors and economic activities.
The financial injection ($533.3 million) will target in its first phase products including rice, sugar, soybeans and yellow corn. Other products will be added according to market needs and for food security, the Agriculture Development Fund said in a statement.
“This initiative … (aims) to meet development priorities and economic needs within the urgent initiatives approved by the Saudi Government to address the impacts of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19),” MEMO reports quoting the statement.
At the same time, the parallel goal is to mitigate the expected economic impacts on private sectors and economic activities, including the agricultural sector.
Normally, Saudi Arabia has grown increasingly dependent on grain imports, becoming a major importer of wheat and barley, since abandoning plans in 2008 to become self-sufficient as desert farming was draining scarce water supplies.