Saudi Arabia Srategic Storage: Why Flour and not Wheat?

The Saudi Minister of Agriculture Fahd Balghunaim has announced that the kingdom’s strategic wheat storage covers now consumption for six months and stands at two million sacks of flour.

Ultimately the kingdom aims at 12 months.

It is surprising that they store flour and not wheat itself. The Ford Foundation started the planning for an expansion of the Saudi wheat program in the 1960s and one of its arguments was that flour is not good for storage. Instead Saudi Arabia should expand wheat production and domestic milling capacities to enable strategic storage the argument went.

Why is the storage now in flour, which does not seem to be the optimal solution? Is there not enough milling capacity? (This would be surprising given past wheat self-sufficiency in Saudi Arabia).

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