Saudi Arabia, which is self-sufficient in wheat, will shift to importing its entire annual requirement of 2.5 million tonnes by 2016, under a plan to save water in the desert kingdom, officials said.
The government will start this year reducing purchases of wheat from local farmers by 12.5 per cent per year, the officials from the agriculture and the finance ministries said.
"The reason is water resources," one official said.
Until 2016, local farmers will be banned from exporting wheat, the officials said, asking not to be identified.
The government plans to compensate local wheat producers, they said. (Reuters)