J. Agric. Environ. Sci. Vol. 5 No.2 (2020) ISSN: 2616-3721 (Online); 2616-3713 (Print)
Publication of College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Bahir Dar University 1
Demand for Imported Staple Food Commodities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sadiq, M. S.
, Singh, I. P.
and Ahmad, M. M.
Department of Agricultural Economic & Extensions, FUD, Dutse, Nigeria
Department of Agricultural Economics, SKRAU, Bikaner, India
Department of Agricultural Economics, BUK, Kano, Nigeria
*Corresponding author: sadiqsanusi30@gmail.com
Received: March 23, 2020 Accepted: October 19, 2020
Abstract: This research empirically estimated the demand for imported staple food commodities in the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia using dated data of 38 years (1980 to 2017) sourced from Food and Agriculture Organization
and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development databases. The collected data covered the consumer
price index; import quantities and expenditures of fifteen staple food commodities. The collected data were
analysed using descriptive statistics and linear expenditure system almost ideal demand system (LES/AIDS)
model. The empirical evidence showed the diversification on food spending to be very low as one commodity
(barley) had a dominant influence on the consumers’ budget expenditure. Furthermore, it was observed that the
dietary diversity of consumers is low. Income effect had strong influence than the substitution effect in determining
the demand for the selected imported commodities. It also showed that as consumers’ income increase and
consumers’ diversify their diets, the consumption of non-staple foods rather than the staple foods would increase.
Therefore, the study recommends that people should be encouraged to engage in optimal dietary diversification
in order to enhance their diet nutritional quality and health status. However, since almost all of the commodities
are important given that they fulfilled the needs of the people, especially the poor who face tight budgetary
constraints. Thus, it becomes imperative for the policymakers to enhance their home-grown economy so as
enhance the economy, foreign exchange reserve and protect the health status of the country population.
Keywords:Food commodity, imported food, LES/AIDS model, Saudi Arabia
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
1. Introduction
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries,
with an approximate population of 40 million are
among the world’s richest countries in respect to oil
and gas reserves, and per capita wealth (Adam et al.,
2019). However, about 90% of their food
requirements are imported as the domestic
production is inadequate to meet their current
demand. Therefore, the food imports in the GCC
region stud at $25.8 billion in 2010 (FAO et al.
2019). High dependence on imports makes the GCC
food supply very vulnerable and highly dependent
on the world food market (Vasileska and
Rechkoska, 2012; FAO, 2019).
In the last four decades, countries of the Arab Gulf
region experienced a rapid and drastic change in
their socio-economic situation, patterns of food
consumption, lifestyle and health status. This was
mainly attributed to the sharp increase in income due
to oil revenue accumulations. Nevertheless, under-
nutrition and micro-nutrient deficiencies still exist
among vulnerable groups; diet-related chronic
diseases have become the main health problems
while communicable diseases have diminished
(FAO, 2017; Adam et al., 2019).
Adam et al. (2019) opined that qualitative and
quantitative changes in food diets represent the main
characteristics of the dietary changes and
diversification in transitional nutrition. Thus, the
growth, consumption patterns and outlook of the
food sector is of substantial importance for these
countries. Many factors interact in different and
complex ways to influence and shape dietary
consumption patterns; and diet composition and
content. These factors include income, prices,
individual preferences and beliefs, culture, traditions
and geographical location, environmental, social
and economic factors. Major shifts in dietary
patterns are occurring, such as a shift in
consumption of basic staple foods towards more
diversified diets.
Therefore, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia being an
epicentre of tourism and rapid population growth in