Adaptation of the agricultural sector to the effects of climate change in arid regions: competitive advantage date palm cropping patterns under water scarcity conditions

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This research paper highlights the adverse effects of climate change on the agricultural sector in Saudi Arabia and the actions taken to adapt to these adverse effects. Special focus was given to the potential to optimise the reallocation of scarce water resources among the competitive advantage date palm cropping regions in Saudi Arabia using a mathematical sector modelling approach. The results showed great potential for Saudi Arabia to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change by optimising the date palm cropping pattern in accordance with its scarce water resources and limited cultivated lands. The optimised scenario would result in a high net annual return, equivalent to about 881.76 million US$ year−1, and an increase on the water use return from about 0.97 US$ cm−1 in the base year to approximately 1.31 US$ cm−1. The optimised scenario would also provide the opportunity to reduce the allocated date palm cropping area by approximately 4% (from approximately 118,250 hectares to approximately 113,446 hectares) and to reduce the water demand by approximately 1% (from 681.06 million cubic metres (MCM) per year to approximately 674.28 MCM per year).

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