Saudi Arabia in talks with Sudan and others to secure food needs

Sudan Tribune | Sunday 15 June 2008

June 13, 2008 (LONDON) — The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is in talks with Sudan and other countries to grow grains to meet its strategic food needs.

Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah bin Ahmed Zenel and Minister of Agriculture Fahd bin Abdul-Rahman Balghunaim were in Khartoum on at the last week of May 2008 to discuss to potential investment in Sudanese agriculture.

However the Saudi Arabia has parallel talks with Ukraine, Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt to allow Saudi firm to establish projects for wheat, barley, soya bean, rice and animal fodder.

Abdullah al-Obaid, a deputy agriculture minister said his government intends to pave the way for Saudi firm to invest in these countries with their experience, know-how and money in order to bring produce to Saudi Arabia.

He further said they received some offers form these countries stressing that they want to be sure such investment are secure and governments will give logistical support to Saudi investors.

The only strategic grain in which Saudi Arabia has been self-sufficient is wheat. But this year the government said it would replace domestic production with imports over a period of eight years to stop depletion of underground water reserves.

Sudanese exports to Saudi Arabia last year reached 78,2 million USD and included Arabic gum, sesame, peanuts, live animals, meat and leather, while imports from Saudi Arabia amounted 501,5 million USD and included food, beverage, petroleum products, raw materials, chemicals and other manufactured goods, including dairy equipment and transport and textiles.

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