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Saudi Arabia Boosts Food Spending at Home and Abroad to Secure Supply

  • Kingdom boosts funding for food importers and farm projects
  • Country aims to increase vegetable output through hydroponics
Traders and customers taste fresh dates at the local market in Buraidah, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. Saudi Arabia has been draining its reserves to cover social spending amid low oil prices.
Photographer: Tasneem Alsultan/Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia is stepping up its investments in local agriculture and farming projects abroad at a time when the coronavirus pandemic prompts some nations to review how they feed their people.

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, the kingdom introduced two initiatives worth 2.5 billion riyals ($665 million) to support farmers and facilitate food imports, said Muneer Alsahali, general manager of the Agricultural Development Fund. That takes the fund’s budget to 5.5 billion riyals this year, which is almost triple 2019’s amount and includes more money for overseas investments.