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Saudi Dates Sector Faces 5 Challenges

Saudi Dates Sector Faces 5 Challenges

Thursday, 11 August, 2022 - 08:45
Officials at the Unaizah International Dates Festival. (SPA)

The Federation of Saudi Chambers said there are five challenges facing the development of the date sector in Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom is hoping the sector would make significant contributions to its GDP.

First Vice President of the Federation Tariq al-Haidari said the sector faces weak marketing, especially e-marketing.

Haidari was speaking at the opening of the Unaizah International Dates Festival, the world's biggest event on dates.

He noted that one of the sector's challenges is a lack investment entities.

The Saudi date industry is still facing a decline in innovation, especially in sectors derived from this fruit, which led to a decrease in investment in the manufacturing industries for dates, explained the official.

Moreover, the lack of trained manpower is a challenge that requires finding specialized training programs and developing the outputs of agricultural cooperative societies, he noted.

Haidari lauded the efforts made by the Federation to support, develop, and boost the dates sector.

The Federation continues to support the sector through seasonal and regional marketing exhibitions. It also aims to overcome challenges in cooperation with the relevant authorities.

Haidari stressed that Saudi Arabia enjoys the advantages and high production capabilities with nearly 30 million palm trees, constituting 25 percent of the world’s palms.

The official noted that the sector witnessed significant developments after Vision 2030, where its economic contribution to the agricultural sector’s GDP doubled, registering the highest annual growth rate in the world for date exports during the past five years.

Exports increased by 110 percent with a total value of $320 million in 2021, reaching over 110 countries, a 31 percent growth compared to 2020.

The Kingdom produces more than 1.5 million tons of dates annually.

Speakers at the festival discussed the development of production and quality of dates.

They also addressed advancing international trade for dates and determining opportunities and challenges that face the palm and dates sector.

The Festival is organized by the Chamber of Commerce in Unaizah, in partnership with the International Dates Council and Council of Saudi Chambers, with the participation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD), the National Center for Palms and Dates, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, and several government agencies, and the private sector.

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