APPROPRIATE CROPPING PATTERN AS AN APPROACH TO ENHANCING IRRIGATION WATER EFFICIENCY IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
Khodran H. Alzahrani, Siddig E. Muneer, Alla S. Taha and Mirza B. Baig
Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology, Faculty of Food and Agricultural Sciences, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
Corresponding author e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fresh water is one of the most important and scarcest natural resources around the globe. In Saudi Arabia fresh water shortage for different uses represents one of the main challenges hindering development efforts in the country. As such there is a need to pursue a water demand management policy which should include any measure or initiative that will result in reduction of water usage and/or water demand. This study is intended to explore the potential of proper cropping pattern as a water demand management tool to enhance water and food security in Saudi Arabia. Secondary data were obtained from the ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Electricity and Water. The analyses revealed that existing cropping pattern did not benefit from the relative advantage of different regions in producing different crops. Thus, there is a great potential for enhancing food and water security in Saudi Arabia through altering existing cropping pattern by encouraging production of different crops in the regions that have clear relative advantage in their production i.e. give the highest productivity. For example production of cereals could be concentrated in Jouf and Tabuk areas, while vegetables production in the eastern region and Asser area.
Keywords: cropping pattern, irrigation water, scarcity, food security, demand management, relative advantage, Saudi Arabia.