Development of agriculture in Tihama: Regional growth and development in the Jizan region, Saudi Arabia.
KeywordsAgriculture -- Saudi Arabia -- Qīzan Region.
Agriculture and state -- Saudi Arabia -- Qīzan Region.
AdvisorGibson, Lay James
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe coastal plain called Tihama forms the principal agricultural zone which makes Jizan one of the main agricultural regions in the Arabian Peninsula. The Saudi government has keenly appreciated this wealth of Jizan and explored developing its potential in the mid-1940's. However, the pace of agricultural development in Jizan has been very slow, and an actual decline has been registered in traditional agriculture. This stagnation is caused by constraints imposed by unfavorable "institutional arrangements," i.e., those incentives and disincentives which are the product of the political economy of the country. Problems facing agricultural development in Jizan are explained within the context of the country's institutional arrangements. The contribution of the spatial structure of Jizan and the lack of sufficient impact by the urban/industrial complex of this region are detailed as causes for this problem. To its credit, the Saudi government imposes neither taxes nor restrictive economic policies on agriculturalists. Moreover, general financial support for farmers and investment in public projects are benefiting the agricultural sector of Jizan. These factors led to the evolution of the modern tubewell farming system in Jizan which began in 1961/62. Existing incentives are overshadowed by disincentives which are hampering agricultural and general regional development in Jizan. Unfavorable farm policy, such as subsidization of foodstuff imports, and out-migration due to unequal regional growth in the country, accelerated a process of agricultural decline in Jizan. Until 1962 this decline was not arrested by government investment due to the lack of funding. Ironically, the rise in revenue from oil exports seems to have undermined the need for agricultural development in Jizan. Recent government efforts to develop the country's agricultural sector yielded a farm policy which is unfavorable to Jizan. Projects which are vital for this region's agriculture have been implemented only recently, or as in the case of many irrigation projects, have not yet been built. In the 1980's Jizan, which had 14% of the country's agricultural land, received only about 1% of the value of loans provided by the government to farmers. As a result, Jizan remains a region with substantial, but still unrealized potential.
Degree ProgramGeography and Regional Development