Dates sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Analysis of the date and palm sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Dates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are considered one of the most important food and economic resources, as they constitute a strategic national product linked to the history of Saudi Arabia. The palm tree is a national symbol and a major component of the Kingdom's official emblem, and it forms an important part of Saudi culture. The palm and date sector plays an active role in many manufacturing and food industries, as it is used in food, feed and other industries such as medical and cosmetic products and building materials. The Kingdom includes 156 date manufacturing factories, and has achieved a high level of sufficiency in this field. The Kingdom is striving to achieve high growth rates in the date sector, and has recorded the highest global growth rate in its exports of dates during the past six years at a rate of 12.5%. This aims to enhance the contribution of this sector to the development of manufacturing industries and the development of non-oil exports.

Statistics show that the Kingdom ranked first in the world in date exports in 2021, as the value of Saudi date exports that year reached 1.215 billion riyals. The palm tree sector and date industry in the Kingdom indicates an estimated value of approximately 7.5 billion riyals, representing 12% of total agricultural output and 0.4% of total non-oil output.

The Kingdom pays great attention to palm cultivation, supporting farmers, and facilitating laws and regulations to preserve palm trees and improve the production of high-quality dates in accordance with standard specifications. Statistics show that the Kingdom has more than 30 million palm trees, producing more than 1.5 million tons of dates.

Dates are considered one of the main food sources in the Saudi diet, and they form an integral part of the Kingdom's cultural and economic heritage. The Kingdom provides support to date factories by providing loans worth 660 million Saudi riyals, including 45 million Saudi riyals to support this vital sector and facilitate investment in it.

The following table shows the different types of dates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:

item Information about him
drunken It is famous for the Qassim region, and it comes in yellow and red.
Salvation Al-Khalas is a type of date, famous for in the Qassim region, and the Al-Kharj and Al-Ahsa governorates. It is characterized by maintaining its good flavor after a long period of storage. It has an apricot-yellow color and has a sweet taste.
Ajwa Medina is famous for it, and it has gained wide fame because it was mentioned in the Sunnah of the Prophet. Medina’s farms produce 20-30 tons of ajwa per day, and it tops the list of dates exported outside the Kingdom at a rate of 100 tons annually.
My colleague A type of dates and rutab in Al-Ahsa Governorate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is one of the types whose ripening season is delayed. It is considered one of the dates that are consumed from the rutab stage until the rutab stage.
Ruthana A type of dates and dates that is famous for Medina in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It ripens in mid-June every year and its season ends quickly.
Al-Raziz Al-Razeez is a type of date, famous for it in Al-Ahsa Governorate in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is the most famous date in Al-Ahsa in the past, and it is considered one of the best types of dates and the richest in nutrition.
Hatami A type of date in Al-Ahsa Governorate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its palm trees are distributed in the farms of Al-Ahsa Oasis, and it is a type designated for the production of dates only.
Shishi It is a date produced in Al-Ahsa Governorate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is considered a very sweet food. Khalas, Al-Razeez and Shishi dates are distinguished by producing 75% of the total production of Al-Ahsa, while Shishi dates constitute 50% of Saudi date production.
Zero A type of date in Bisha Governorate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, representing %6.7 palm trees by type throughout the Kingdom.
Suck it up It is a type of date produced by Al-Kharj Governorate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is distinguished by the fact that the fruit itself has a mixture of red and yellow colors, and it is distinguished by the fact that it does not contain any percentage of white sugar, it only contains fructose and dextrose.
Neboth is a sword It is famous in the Najd region and is considered one of the excellent palm varieties.
Sweet hollow A type of date in the Al-Jawf region in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is considered the most famous characteristic of the region and the first product in the date market in Al-Jawf, because it contains a percentage of vitamins.
Alberni Berni is a type of date in Iraq. The village of Al-Eis in Saudi Arabia is also famous for it.

The following table shows the area and production of palm trees in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the period (2016-2021):

the year Space Production
2016 3,620.13 11,162
2017 2,996.95 13,754.00
2018 3,658.00 12,206
2019 3,868.20 13,616.39
2020 6,313.56 16,591.52
2021 6,463 16,666

From the previous table, it appears that palm production increased during the period from 2016 to 2021, and this is due to the initiatives undertaken by the Kingdom during this period to increase the rate of self-sufficiency and increase export abroad to benefit from the components and quality of production in the Kingdom. The Kingdom produces 1.54 million tons annually of dates, including 300 varieties, of which the surplus is exported, making the Kingdom achieve first place in the world in date exports in terms of value during the year 2021. The value of Saudi exports of dates reached 1.215 billion riyals, and this increase contributed To make the date sector one of the main sectors that contribute to increasing the Kingdom’s national investments and exports, in order to achieve the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The following table shows the local production of dates in tons, imports and exports, and the sufficiency rate during the period (2010-2021):

  2020 2021
Domestic production (tons) 1,541,769 1,565,830
Imports (tons) 3,930.3 19,817
Export (tons) 156,510.3 258,098
Self-sufficient % 111% 118%

From the table, it appears that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia achieved high rates of self-sufficiency during the years 2020 and 2021, and witnessed an increase in the amount of exports.
This is a primary goal for the Kingdom, as it seeks to increase the amount of date exports. Saudi Arabia is distinguished by the production of high-quality types of dates, and the government seeks to be the main exporter of dates in the world. Saudi Arabia is considered a global center for producing the finest types of dates, and the Ministry works to improve the quality of production on farms by following up on good agricultural practices.

Saudi Arabia is also concerned with enhancing the image of Saudi dates through quality standards and developing related industries. The Kingdom is home to more than 33 million palm trees, and owns more than 123,000 agricultural holdings distributed in 13 administrative regions. The government is working to provide an integrated system of agricultural, logistical, marketing and knowledge services, while adopting modern technologies to achieve production efficiency and increase local and global date consumption.

Saudi Arabia seeks to increase its share of global date exports to 20% by the end of 2025, and aims to become the world's leading country in date exports. The Kingdom established the National Center for Palms and Dates to promote the development of the palm and date sector.

The Kingdom established the International Dates Council with the participation of 11 producing countries with the aim of strengthening the international partnership to develop the palm and date sector worldwide in a sustainable manner. The steps taken by the Saudi government included achieving the top spot on the list of global exporters of dates and raising their market value.

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