The first Agricultural Census (AC) in Saudi Arabia was conducted in 1973/1974, the second in 1982, the third in 1999 and the fourth in 2015.
Agriculture is acknowledged to be of great significance for humans and animals alike. It provides them with the most essential strategic stocks of indispensable staple food in all circumstances. Grains and feed are necessary for livestock that provide humans with meat and milk. Besides, vegetables, fruits and dates are reckoned important for food security. As a matter of fact, some agricultural products supply raw materials needed for the production of many necessary food products. Accurate and comprehensive statistical data on all agricultural holdings should be supplied. To that end, GAStat seeks to provide such data by carrying out a comprehensive census aiming at supplying as many statistical tables containing the most important data and statistical indicators as needed for planning and developing agricultural strategies. The agriculture census is the key source of agricultural information as it covers all agricultural holdings in KSA. Moreover, it demonstrates data on characteristics of all agricultural holdings characteristics at all geographic and administrative levels in KSA. It also presents an integrated, up-to-date framework for future agricultural surveys based on sampling.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
The scope of the study includes agriculture (including forestry), livestock and income.
Agriculture & Rural Development
Food (production, crisis)
Land (policy, resource management)
Forests & Forestry
Access to Finance
The statistical unit was the agricultural holding, defined as an economic unit of the agricultural production of crops and livestock, operated under single management, which covers all animals included in it and all lands used fully or in part for agricultural production, regardless of ownership, legal form or area. Two types of agricultural holdings were distinguished: "traditional" holdings and "specialized" holdings.
Producers and sponsors
General Authority for Statistics (GAStat)
Ministry of Agriculture
The frame for the AC 2015 was built during the first census phase (from 30 April to 28 June 2014), which was devoted to: (i) "numbering and counting" the agricultural holdings with operated lands and the stockbreeders not included in this category; and (ii) "counting" the stockbreeders in the desert (holdings without land).
First: The phase of numbering and counting the agricultural holdings and the stockbreeders not included in such holdings:
A) Numbering and counting agricultural holdings:
This phase provided a framework for agricultural holdings across KSA to be used in the agricultural census and future agricultural surveys carried out through sampling at the level of all administrative divisions (administrative region, province, municipality, locality). This phase provided also data on the geographical distribution, in addition to data on coordinates of all agricultural holdings in KSA.
B) Counting stockbreeders outside holdings (holdings without land):
Counting stockbreeders outside holdings is carried out simultaneously with the phase of numbering and counting agricultural holdings. Based on this process, an estimate of the number of stockbreeders who
are outside the holdings and within the municipality are provided with the aim of fulfilling detailed data about them in the counting phase.
Second: The Phase of Actual Counting:
Census methodology requires the statistical researcher to visit each holding counted during the phase of numbering and counting. Actually, the data of traditional and specialized farms are electronically collected whereas the data of stockbreeders existed in the outskirts of villages and the desert are collected on papers to be recorded on computers after that.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Computer Assisted Personal Interview [capi]
Data Collection Notes
The data for traditional and specialized holdings were collected using the CAPI method, whereas the data for stockbreeders in the outskirts of villages and the desert were first collected on paper, to be recorded later using tablets. Data collection was conducted using an objective method (measurement of area or counting of livestock).
A single questionnaire was used for data collection on:
- Total cultivated areas
- Utilizations of these areas by the agriculture type and the production specialization
- System and sources of the irrigation and the used energy
- Crop structure (permanent, winter and summer)
- Data on the protected agriculture of vegetables and cut flowers
- Numbers and types of fruiting and non-fruiting palm trees
- Numbers and types of fruitful and fruitless permanent trees, except palm trees
- Number of livestock included in traditional and specialized holding
- Number of birds and poultry in traditional and specialized holding
- Data on fish aquaculture farms
- Data on the number of hives in holdings
- Number of the used agricultural machines;
- Data on buildings and constructions by type, number and area of lands or floor area ratios of these buildings and constructions
- Data on agricultural extension sources
- Data on funding sources in agricultural holdings
The AC 2015 covered 14 of the 16 core items recommended in the WCA 2010. The exceptions were:
(i) "Presence of forest and other wooded land on the holding";
(ii) "Other economic production activities of the holding's enterprise".
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General Authority for Statistics,
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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