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Saudi Arabia becomes major importer of hard and soft wheat

Saudi Arabia becomes major importer of hard and soft wheat

Saudi Arabia bought 780,000 tons of hard and soft wheat in a tender for shipment periods between September 10 and November 30, the Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organization (GSFMO) said on Monday.

Of the total, it bought 660,000 tons of hard wheat and 120,000 tons of soft wheat.

The accepted origins are the European Union, North and South America and Australia at the sellers’ option, the GSFMO said.

The wheat is to be shipped in 13 consignments, with 420,000 tons for shipment to the port of Jeddah and 360,000 tons for the port of Dammam, GSFMO Director General Waleed Elkhereiji said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia has become a major importer of hard and soft wheat since abandoning plans for self-sufficiency in wheat in 2008 as farming in the desert strained water supplies.

The country aims to steadily reduce agriculture and plans to be completely reliant on imports by 2016 to save water.

Saudi Arabia has so far purchased a limited amount of wheat from its local farmers amounting to 400 tons, a statement by the GSFMO to the official news agency said.

The Kingdom plans to buy only 500 tons of local wheat this year from its farmers. It has so far purchased 2.1 million tons on the international market, the official SPA said.

Saudi Arabia has previously said it plans to import 2.7 million tons of foreign wheat this year. A pick-up in wheat buying by major importers gathered steam as Egypt, the top importing country, and Saudi Arabia bought nearly 1 million tons between them in two days.