Saudi Arabia – 18th Largest Importer of Corn in the World


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Sep 24, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

In the world of global trade, Saudi Arabia stands as an influential player in various industries, including agriculture. Corn, a staple in many aspects of Saudi Arabia’s food supply and animal feed industries, is a critical commodity for the nation. As we delve into the dynamic world of Saudi Arabia’s corn trade and imports from January to August 2023, we aim to comprehensively analyze the key factors impacting this vital aspect of the nation’s economy.

The Significance of Corn in Saudi Arabia

Corn is not just a grain; it’s a cornerstone of Saudi Arabian agriculture. It is primarily used for animal feed, but its significance doesn’t end there. Corn-based products such as corn oil and cornstarch have a substantial presence in the Saudi food industry. This dual-purpose nature makes corn a commodity of paramount importance.

Supply and Demand Dynamics

One of the primary challenges in managing Saudi Arabia’s corn trade and imports is balancing the nation’s growing demand against global supply fluctuations. While Saudi Arabia aims to reduce its reliance on corn imports, it is also aware of the importance of food security. As such, there’s a fine line to tread between achieving self-sufficiency and ensuring a steady supply.

According to AgFlow data, Saudi Arabia imported 0.96 million tons of Corn from Argentina in Jan – Aug 2023, followed by Brazil (0.43 million tons), the US (0.41 million tons), and Ukraine (62,000 tons). Total imports hit 1.9 million tons in Jan – Aug 2023. Saudi Arabia was purchasing large amounts of Corn from these countries per month. Average volume of shipments was 85,462 tons and 22 shipments were recorded during Jan – Aug. In 2021, Saudi Arabia imported Corn worth $752 million, becoming the 18th largest importer of Corn in the world. At the same year, Corn was the 37th most imported product in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia - 18th Largest Importer of Corn in the World

The Role of Climate and Weather Patterns

Saudi Arabia’s geographical location has always posed challenges to its agricultural sector. The arid climate and water scarcity issues make it increasingly difficult to cultivate corn locally. This leaves Saudi Arabia heavily dependent on global markets and weather conditions that impact corn-producing nations. Unpredictable weather patterns in key exporting countries can lead to supply disruptions, influencing corn prices and availability.

Trade Agreements and International Relations

Saudi Arabia’s approach to corn trade and imports is intricately linked with its international relations. Trade agreements and partnerships can either facilitate or hinder the flow of corn into the country. Tariffs, quotas, and diplomatic relations all play a role in determining the ease of access to corn from various sources.

Technology and Innovation

Saudi Arabia has been investing in innovative agricultural technologies to address some of the challenges in corn production. These include precision farming techniques, greenhouse cultivation, and water-efficient irrigation systems. Such advancements contribute to self-sufficiency and impact the quality and reliability of corn imports.

The Price Dilemma

In the context of corn trade, price fluctuations are a constant concern. As Saudi Arabia balances its need for affordable corn imports with the desire to support local farmers, policymakers must make critical decisions about subsidies, import tariffs, and pricing mechanisms to ensure the market remains stable and accessible.


Navigating the complex world of corn trade and imports in Saudi Arabia from January to August 2023 requires a delicate balancing act. The nation’s growing population and desire for self-sufficiency and food security make corn a vital commodity. Yet, factors like global supply fluctuations, climate challenges, and international relations create a complex web of considerations for policymakers and industry professionals.

As Saudi Arabia continues to seek innovative solutions, invest in technology, and negotiate trade agreements, the outcome of its corn trade and imports for the first eight months of 2023 will be watched closely not only within the country but also by global markets. The challenges and opportunities presented in this dynamic environment underscore the importance of a well-informed and adaptive approach to ensure a stable and prosperous future for Saudi Arabia’s corn trade and imports.

In this ever-evolving landscape, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia faces a cornucopia of challenges and opportunities as it navigates its corn trade and imports in 2023, and the world watches closely to see how this story unfolds.

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