Saudi Arabia increases barley subsidy to SR700 per tonne

JEDDAH — The Saudi ministry of agriculture has increased the barley subsidy from SR500 to SR700 per tonne in a move to ease the animal-feed crisis experienced in various parts of the Kingdom.

By Habib Shaikh

Published: Fri 9 Nov 2007, 10:39 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:13 PM

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said in a report recently that the ministry is hoping to maintain the price of barley at SR28 per bag sold at ports of entry and at SR32 per bag in other places to cover logistics costs. "The subsidy was increased as per the orders of the higher authorities," Agriculture Minister Fahd Balghunaim told SPA said in a statement.

Balghunaim urged the cattle farmers not to depend on barley as a major source of cattle feed but look for other kinds of feed with higher nutrient values. He said that the present arrangement would be reviewed after three months. A ministerial committee recommended the hike in the subsidy for imported barley to counter the current rising trend in barley prices worldwide.

Worried herders were found frequenting the empty Aziziah Market for cattle feed in Riyadh before the news of the subsidy hike was flashed. Similar situations were reported from Al Jouf, Hafr Al Batin, Yanbu, Jeddah and several other places.

Only one barley truck came to the market, which was sold out in a few minutes to the scrambling herders at the rate of SR37 per 50-kg bag. An average of 20 trucks each carrying 500 bags of barley used to come to the market every day. The number of incoming trucks began to fall markedly recently.

One said he believed importers are manipulating the market by sitting on their feed supplies until the subsidy was announced, which would be illegal.

A rumour was going around that several Saudi-bound cargo ships carrying barley were anchored in the Suez awaiting the government move to increase the subsidy. Then only they approached the Saudi ports in the Eastern Province and Jeddah.

An importer in Jeddah attributed the scarcity to the unprecedented dry weather experienced in the major manufacturing countries of barley. He said that such countries stopped their exports to fulfill the needs of their domestic markets.

He added that as the price of barley stood at $340 (SR1,275) for a ton in the international market, a bag of 50 kg of imported fodder could be sold at a minimum of SR31 in the Saudi markets.

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