September 30, 2018 / 2:22 PM / 3 months ago

Saudi Arabia plans to allow private sector to import feed barley: SPA

FILE PHOTO: A view shows ears of barley during sunset in a field of the Solgonskoye private farm outside the Siberian village of Talniki in Krasnoyarsk Region, Russia August 25, 2018. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest importer of feed barley, will restore a private sector role in the trade after two years during which it was handled solely by the state, Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdel Rahman Al-Fadli was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia used to import its feed barley through the private sector but since 2016 the responsibility for imports has been held by the state grain buyer, the Saudi Grains Organisation (SAGO).

The kingdom has become a major importer of wheat and barley since plans to become self-sufficient were abandoned in 2008 because farming in the desert was draining scarce water supplies.

The private sector will have to adhere to the same specifications as SAGO when handling imports, state news agency SPA quoted al-Fadli as stating. No further details were provided.

“We were expecting Saudi to revert to the private sector soon when it comes to barley,” one Middle East grain trader told Reuters. “The details should come out soon,” he said.

Reporting by Rania El Gamal; Writing by Maha El Dahan; Editing by Peter Graff

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