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Nov 22 2013

'No flour shortage in Kingdom'

Friday 22 November 2013

The Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organization (GSFMO) would ensure that the Kingdom has an adequate amount of wheat despite supply affected by climate changes in wheat-producing countries, according to a GSFMO official. Waleed El-Khereiji, the organization's general director, said: "The organization will diversify its import sources so that it is not dependent on one source." Since 2008, the GSFMO has imported 10.52 million tons from the European Union states, Australia, Canada, Argentina and Brazil, he said. El-Khereiji said: "The GSFMO maintains a strategic storage for the Kingdom's needs.

The storage capacity amounts to 2.52 million tons, which is enough for six months' consumption." He said there would not be a shortage of flour in the country. "The organization has met, and is still meeting all the needs and orders registered, even the increase on the assigned quotas." Clients and distributers have taken less weekly amounts than expected. El-Khereiji said there would be an estimated flour consumption of 2.6 million tons next year, compared to 2.5 million tons last year and 2.4 million tons this year.

He said consumption has increased on average by 3 percent annually from 2005 to 2011 and is forecast to rise by 3.2 percent from 2012 to 2025. He said the organization plans to cater for this increase with storage capacity of one year or more. The GSFMO general director said consumption is estimated to reach 3.6 million tons by 2025. "This is why we embarked on new projects in Jazan, Ahsa and Al-Kharj." He said local wheat prices are the cheapest in the world because the government bears 70 percent of the costs.

© Arab News 2013

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