Saudi Arabia To Import More Wheat

The Saudi Arabian Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organisation (GSFMO) plans to import 700,000 tonnes of wheat by August to add to the 470,000 tonnes its has already imported since September, 2008, it says.

The move comes after the Saudi government announced plans to abandon a 30-year-old programme to become self-sufficient in wheat that has severely depleted the desert kingdom's water resources.

Saudi Arabia produced 2.3 million tonnes of wheat in 2008, eight percent below its level a year earlier, according to the USDA. The Kingdom's own domestic wheat harvest may fall as low as 1.2mmt this season, due to sharply lower plantings which are now being actively encouraged by the government.

The country bought 495,000mt of mostly Canadian wheat at the end of March.