Saudi Arabia expects to import 1.9 million tonnes of wheat in 2011, the director general of the state-run Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organisation (GSFMO) said Oct. 19.
Around 1.9 million tonnes this year and slightly more next year, Waleed el-Khereiji told reporters on the sidelines of a Russian grain conference in Egypt.
The increase in imports is due to an increase in consumption and a decrease in local purchases.
For sure consumption is increasing due to the increase in population and due to the decrease of procurement from the interior market, el-Khereiji said.
Saudi Arabia also plans to increase wheat storage capacity to 3.2 million tonnes, enough to cover its annual wheat consumption of about 2.9 million tonnes.
We have some projects now to add 710,000 tonnes, el-Khereiji said during his presentation at the conference.
If we complete all these projects we will have one year reserves storage capacity, he said.
Work is underway to construct new silos, some of which are at main Saudi ports, he said.
Saudi s storage capacity is currently 2.5 million tonnes.
Only two per cent of Saudi Arabia s wheat imports in the period from 2008 to 2011 came from Russia while 40 per cent was imported from Canada in the same period.
We don t select countries, we select wheat quality so we have specifications (and) whoever meets them with the right prices we will welcome him in our tenders, el-Khereiji said.
Saudi Arabia plans to totally depend on wheat imports by the year 2016 to save water.