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Food Security Under Hot Climate in Saudi Arabia Proposal

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Updated: Aug 4th, 2022

Introduction

Food security may be defined as the access of all populations at any time to safe, sufficient, and nutritious food. It traditionally includes food availability, food accessibility, stability, and food utilization. On the basis of the critical review of scholarly articles, the proposed research is dedicated to food security in Saudi Arabia. The significance of this paper is determined by the fact that food security may be currently considered as a disturbing issue in the Gulf region that substantively depends on food imports.

The main purpose of this research is to evaluate the availability of Saudi Arabia to develop its local food production to be less affected by climate and economic conditions in supplying countries. The proposed research adds the appropriate analysis of the problem related to food security that exists in Saudi Arabia and other countries of this region.

Food Imports and Local Food Production

In general, for countries with hot and dry climate, food security remains a highly essential and vital matter. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that includes Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain pays particular attention to food quality and safety due to the rapidly expanding tourism sector (Pirani & Arafat, 2016). Imports may be regarded as the main source of available food in the region as local food production in greater volume is not optional.

However, in recent years, the GCC countries have faced the necessity to reduce food demand and the amounts of waste caused by tourism. Within the scope of their research, Pirani and Arafaat (2016) suggest multiple ways to control and secure food imports, such as the investment in the agricultural sector of developed nations or foreign agricultural land acquisition. The GCC region requires decreasing food demand along with diversified food supplies as well.

The research conducted by Elmi, Alomirah, and Al-Zenki (2016) illustrates the total dependency of Saudi Arabia and other countries of the GCC from food imports, as well. As a matter of fact, food security in arid and hot climate faces acute challenges that include changing weather patterns, growing population, and shifting diet preferences. The heavy reliance of the GCC region on food imports causes substantial risks – it disturbs global supply routes and leads to food price volatility (Elmi, Alomirah, & Al-Zenki, 2016).

In addition, recent climate change may have an unpredictable impact on food supplies across the globe. The development of domestic food production may be regarded as a potentially effective solution in order to minimize food dependency that may negatively affect its quality. Considering Saudi Arabia’s climate conditions, local food production requires substantial investment in irrigation technologies, greenhouse structures, and skilled labor.

Food security traditionally increases with the country’s economic development that leads to its high buying power. Hassan and Bilali (2019) analyse the general state, perspectives, and determinants of food security in the GCC countries. Due to the absence of foreign exchange limitations, this region did not have substantial issues concerning food imports and security. Saudi Arabia’s robust fiscal position made the country less vulnerable to potential price risk in comparison with other food importers and allowed “to bridge the shortfall in domestic production” (Hassan & Bilali, 2019, p. 159). In 2018, the members of the GCC were among the most food-secure states across the globe (Hassan & Bilali, 2019). However, in the future, they may face availability risk typical for all import-dependent countries regardless of the sufficiency of their funds. That is why Saudi Arabia and other GCC states should consider the development of its own local production.

Despite substantial criticism, Saudi Arabia announced an ambitious project that aimed to enhance food production and security in the country’s agricultural sector. The project’s realization may have a highly negative impact on the kingdom’s fragile water supply system (Mann, 2015). The excessive use of groundwater from non-renewable natural sources may result in the neighboring countries’ depletion of shared water supplies. In addition, the attempts to recruit native Saudis to the kingdom’s agricultural industry remain ineffective.

Conclusion

Being a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Arabia may be regarded as the country that prevalently depends on food imports due to natural limitations of local production development by a hot and arid climate. The excessive use of groundwater from non-renewable sources necessary for agriculture may have a highly negative impact on the kingdom’s fragile water supply system. In the present day, Saudi Arabia and other countries of the GCC region have sufficient funds for food imports, however, they may face potential risks connected with food availability. In addition, the rapidly expanding tourism sector causes increasing amounts of waste and food demand.

That is why Saudi Arabia should consider the development of its own local production to be less dependent on supplying countries. Considering the country’s climate conditions, local food production requires substantial investment in irrigation technologies, greenhouse structures, and skilled labor. At the same time, the foreign agricultural land acquisition may be a preferable option as climate conditions, poor soil, and water scarcity substantively limit the kingdom’s progress in the agricultural industry.

References

Elmi, A., Alomirah, H., & Al-Zenki, S. (2016). Framework for sustainable agro-ecosystems in support of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries’ food security. Arab Gulf Journal of Scientific Research, 34(3/4), 97-105.

Hassan, T. B., & Bilali, H. E. (2019). . Journal of Food Security, 7(5), 159-169. Web.

Mann, Y. (2015). Can Saudi Arabia feed its people? Middle East Quarterly, 22(2), 1-13.

Pirani, S. I., & Arafat, H. A. (2016). Interplay of food security, agriculture and tourism within GCC countries. Global Food Security, 9, 1-9. Web.

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IvyPanda. "Food Security Under Hot Climate in Saudi Arabia." August 4, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/food-security-under-hot-climate-in-saudi-arabia/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Food Security Under Hot Climate in Saudi Arabia." August 4, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/food-security-under-hot-climate-in-saudi-arabia/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Food Security Under Hot Climate in Saudi Arabia'. 4 August.

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