PETROANALYSIS || ARTICLE
Date Palms, Saudi Arabia’s eternal wealth
BURAYDAH Dates Festival
It has been a lifeline for thousands of Saudi Arabia’s dates farmers during the past 60 years.
Buraydah’s location in the heart of the historic Najd region has made it a hub of diverse cultures and a variety of festivals, featuring markets selling food and handicrafts.
Through its pavilion at the Buraydah Dates Festival, the Saudi Export Development Authority seeks to increase the kingdom’s share in the global dates market by raising export awareness and developing the readiness of potential exporters.
It also aims to shed light on global market opportunities in the dates sector, based on its role in increasing the proportion of Saudi non-oil exports, encouraging openness to international markets, raising the competitive quality of local products, and fulfilling the kingdom’s Vision 2030.
Saudi Arabia’s largest date market is in Buraydah, capital of the north-central Al-Qassim region, 330 km northwest of Saudi capital Riyadh.
The region has more than 7 million date palm trees, the highest number among all regions in the kingdom.
According to the Saudi National Center for Palms and Dates, Saudi annual production of fresh dates amounts to about 15 percent of global output, reaching 1.3 million tons per year from 28 million palm trees.
More than 1,000 sq km of land are under date palm cultivation in Saudi Arabia, producing some 400 varieties of dates.across the kingdom, which boasts the world’s largest number of date palm trees and is the third biggest producer of fresh dates globally.
The festival hosts the produce of 8 million palm trees transported with 53,000 vehicles. The quantity of dates sold during Buraydah Dates Festival, usually around 33,000 tons in 10 million containers, represents 10 percent of dates sold in Al-Qassim.
The festival is not simply an annual marketplace but also a lifeline for thousands of farmers and youths who depend on the income generated from date farming.
The Buraydah Dates Festival attracts many consumers and traders from Gulf countries and the Arab world.
Saudi exports of dates reached 758 million Saudi riyals (202 million U.S. dollars) in 2018, including re-exports, an increase of 8 percent compared with 2017, according to the Saudi Export Development Authority.
The festival is the largest in the world in terms of sales transactions that take place inside the market’s yards, in addition to the line of more than 2,000 cars loaded with hundreds of tons of dates on a daily basis, farmers and date traders offer more than 45 varieties of Qassim dates.
According to festival organizer’s as Saudi Press Agency and Xinhua reported, integrated services supportive to farmers, traders and consumers have been set up in one of the biggest economic gatherings in the world.