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From Indonesia to Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia is looking to secure supplies for sugar, rice, wheat, malt and fodder through investments overseas.  

Gulf Arab countries are heavily reliant on food imports and have been buying farmland in developing nations to ensure food security after a spike in food prices, according to Gulf News online. 

Top Opec oil exporter Saudi Arabia, which abandoned its wheat cultivation programme two years ago due to dwindling water resources, has emerged as a major buyer of wheat from global markets and is also trying, with the help of private Saudi investors, to secure farmland in Africa and elsewhere.

The report says Saudi Arabia also wants to secure fish and livestock, adding that the investments were all long-term plans. 

The government has urged companies to invest in farm projects abroad. 

In April, Riyadh set up a company with capital of 3 billion Saudi riyals (1 riyal=NZ37c) to invest in farmland abroad, focusing on wheat, rice, sugar and soybeans. 

State-owned Saudi Industrial Development Fund is granting financing facilities to firms exploring agricultural investments abroad.

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