The sector accounts for about 2.4% of GDP and 2.9% of the employed population. At the same time, the government and business are making significant efforts to increase agricultural production, including implementing programs to green the deserts that make up most of the kingdom's area, as well as actively using high-tech irrigation systems.

One of the most acute problems of the country's agriculture is the lack of water — the level of precipitation in Saudi Arabia is one of the lowest in the world. To overcome the shortage of water resources in the country, dams are being actively built, including in dry river valleys (wadi), which are filled with water after heavy rains. The dams built allow the use of water filling the wadi during the seasonal rains. Saudi Arabia also uses groundwater and desalinated seawater for irrigation — the country is a world leader in the number of desalination plants and the volume of seawater they process.

The main crop of the country is dates. In 2022, their production volume amounted to 1.6 million tons, which is 2.9% more than in 2021. Saudi Arabia ranks second in the world in terms of date cultivation, second only to Egypt. The level of self-sufficiency of Saudi Arabia with dates in 2022 reached 124%. In addition, fruits such as watermelons and grapes are grown in the country, the volume of production of which in 2022 amounted to 605.0 thousand tons and 110.5 thousand tons, respectively. In the category of vegetables, root crops and tubers, the most common crops are tomatoes, potatoes and onions — their production volume in 2022 reached 658.5 thousand tons, 605.0 thousand tons and 310.0 thousand tons, respectively. Greenhouses and vertical farms are being actively built in the country, and advanced hydroponics technologies are widely used. Among grain crops, most of the production is accounted for wheat (800 thousand tons in 2022) and sorghum (120 thousand tons). At the same time, the production of field crops, which requires large amounts of water, in Saudi Arabia is under strict state control and has been actively transferred abroad in recent years. For example, Saudi companies invest in companies that grow cereals in Argentina and the United States, from where the products are then supplied directly to the kingdom's market.

Both meat and dairy farming are developed in Saudi Arabia. In particular, the country fully provides itself with dairy products: according to official data, the level of self-sufficiency in 2022 amounted to 118% with the volume of production of raw cow's milk exceeding 2.5 million tons. Poultry farming is also highly developed in the country. In 2022, Saudi Arabia produced 1.1 million tons of poultry meat, as well as 6.94 billion pieces of chicken eggs. The increase in poultry meat production in the country in recent years has been due to the expansion of production capacities of leading companies (Al Watania Poultry, Fakieh Poultry, Alyoum Chicken) and additional measures of state support for the industry in the form of subsidies, investments in the cultivation of broiler chickens, as well as the issuance of permits for the use of land for poultry farming. Within the framework of the national development program "Saudi Vision 2030", the kingdom's authorities are striving to achieve a level of self-sufficiency in poultry meat of more than 90%.

The volume of fish and seafood production in 2022 amounted to 184.8 thousand tons. According to official data, the level of self-sufficiency with this type of product in the country is 48%. The main share in the catch structure is made up of shrimp, mackerel, pelamides and sea bass. Most of the seafood is caught in the waters of the Persian Gulf, fishing in the Red Sea is less developed.

Saudi Arabia remains a major importer of cereals, meat and dairy products, fruits and vegetables. As the demand for food increases in the country, more and more attention is being paid to the development of its own agro-industrial complex. Thus, ensuring and strengthening the country's food security is one of the main goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

In 2022, Saudi Arabia imported agricultural products worth 28.9 billion US dollars, which is 25.5% higher than in 2021. In 2018-2022, the volume of imports of agricultural products of the country grew annually by an average of 9.0%.

In the structure of imports of agricultural products of Saudi Arabia in value terms in 2022, the main share was cereals, including corn — 5.9% of imports, rice — 4.8%, barley — 4.7% and wheat — 4.3%. Poultry meat also accounted for a significant share of imports in 2022 (5.8%). In general, imports of agricultural products from Saudi Arabia are highly diversified — in total, the top 10 imported products accounted for 41.7% of the total imports of agricultural products from Saudi Arabia in value terms.

In 2022, compared with 2021, the volume of imports of corn (+87.0% or +788.8 million US dollars), poultry meat (+41.5% or +495.6 million US dollars) and wheat (+50.0% or +414.4 million US dollars) increased most noticeably. At the same time, there was a decrease in barley imports by 5.5% (-79.8 million US dollars).

With the expansion of poultry meat production, corn continues to be an important feedstock for poultry farms in Saudi Arabia and is contained in 60% of poultry feed. Corn is also actively used by local dairy farms and commercial feed processors.

A significant increase in wheat purchases is due to the growing demand from the catering sector, which consumes a large number of flour and bakery products. This dynamic is associated with an increase in the number of migrant workers attracted to implement the kingdom's mega-infrastructure projects, as well as an increase in the number of tourists.

The increase in purchases of poultry meat in value terms is associated with an increase in the average import price of poultry meat.

In 2022, the main suppliers of agricultural products to Saudi Arabia were Brazil (11.1% of imports in value terms), India (7.6%), the USA (5.9%), Australia (5.4%) and Argentina (5.4%) — in total, these countries provided 35.5% of the total volume of agricultural products supplied to Saudi Arabia. Russia took the 8th place in the rating with an export volume of $ 1.0 billion. In total, the top 10 exporting countries accounted for 52.8% of imports of agricultural products from Saudi Arabia in value terms.

The volume of exports of agricultural products to Saudi Arabia from Brazil (+55.5% or +1.1 billion US dollars), Argentina (+55.2% or +558.0 million US dollars) and Russia (+49.8% or +340.5 million US dollars) increased most noticeably in 2021-2022. In 2022, Brazil increased corn supplies 2.7 times (from $155.8 million to $424.2 million) and wheat by 14.1 times (from $19.5 million to $274.6 million).

Argentina also increased corn exports by 82.4% (from 498.6 million US dollars to 909.5 million US dollars). Russia has increased wheat exports 3 times (from 195.4 million US dollars to 583.4 million US dollars).

In 2022, Saudi Arabia's agricultural exports amounted to 4.8 billion US dollars, an increase of 16.4% compared to the level of 2021. In 2018-2022, the country's exports grew by an average of 7.1% per year.

The main exported agricultural products of Saudi Arabia in 2022 were beet and cane sugar (9.2% of value exports), flour confectionery and bakery products (8.5%), dates (7.1%), cheeses (7.0%), as well as pasta (6.3%). In total, the top 10 exported products accounted for 61.5% of the total structure of supplies of agricultural products to foreign markets in value terms.

Exports of beet and cane sugar increased most noticeably in 2022 (+63.5% or +172.0 million US dollars), as well as crustaceans (+71.5% or +86.2 million US dollars). At the same time, the volume of exports of fruit and vegetable juices decreased (-2.8% or -8.0 million US dollars).

The increase in the volume of exports of cane sugar from Saudi Arabia is associated with an increase in demand for these products on the world market. Some of the products are exported as raw materials, some after primary processing.

The main importers of Saudi Arabia's agricultural products in 2022 included neighboring Arab countries — the United Arab Emirates (21.9% of exports in value terms), Kuwait (13.5%), Jordan (12.0%), Yemen (10.5%) and Bahrain (7.4%). In total, the ten largest importers provided 84.3% of the total exports of agricultural products from Saudi Arabia.

Relative to 2021, purchases of agricultural products from Saudi Arabia from Turkey (by 4 times or +71.7 million US dollars) and China (by 2 times or +66.0 million US dollars) significantly increased. Turkey increased purchases of beet and cane sugar from 62.0 thousand US dollars in 2021 to 78.2 million US dollars in 2022. China increased imports of crustaceans by 99.9% (from 58.8 million US dollars to 117.5 million US dollars).