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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Riyadh: Madinah is showcasing its date industry during its annual season, with the sector producing more than 50 million kg of the fruit in the past three months, adding more than $149 million to the Saudi economy.
Themed “From Madinah to the World,” the season features experts and prominent farmers showcasing date varieties and highlighting the economic significance of the industry.
Five cultural exhibitions are hosted in central hotels and major malls. The exhibitions offer Saudi coffee and popular regional dates to visitors, along with detailed descriptions of the fruit varieties. Furthermore, agricultural workshops educate attendees about effective ways to prevent the spread of pests.
The director of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture’s regional branch, Ayman Al-Sayed, said: “The season includes a tent for agricultural services near the main date market auction. Its purpose is to offer farmers agricultural guidance, including on pesticide usage and modern irrigation techniques. There is also a section for the popular organic agriculture program in the region’s organic farms, along with explanations of the Saudi Good Agriculture Practices Program by agricultural experts.”
Al-Sayed added: “The tent offers employment support, agricultural licenses and records. It also highlights the Agricultural Development Fund’s support programs for farmers, explaining the application process. Additionally, it features the National Center for the Prevention and Control of Plant Pests and Animal Diseases, providing information about its agricultural and awareness services.”
He said that in the last three months, 42 million kg of dates were produced, with a value surpassing SR530 million ($141 million).
Al-Sayed added that in the same period, permits were granted for 413 date shipments — totaling another 8.7 million kg in volume and SR30 million in value — via Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport.
He said: “We organized the entry of 79,000 vehicles imported by the region’s farms for the date market. The supervisory teams are present on the ground around the clock to inspect imported products, ensuring they are safe, and carrying out inspection and guidance tours.”
Al-Sayed added: “The ministry’s branch is committed to supporting date production by conducting workshops for farmers, offering platforms for selling premium date preservation containers to help farmers manage their production, and establishing websites for those exporting their products domestically and internationally.
“These measures aim to meet the local and global market needs through the 8.3 million palm trees in the region, boost national date and date product exports, and highlight the significance of the palm and date sector as a key component of agricultural and economic production, aligning with the goals of Vision 2030.”
According to the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, in 2022, Saudi Arabia exported 321,000 tons of dates valued at SR1.28 billion.
The ministry said that the annual output of dates in the Kingdom in 2022 exceeded 1.6 million tons with more than 300 varieties on offer.
There are more than 34 million date palms around the Kingdom.
The Qassim region boasts the highest number of palm trees with 11.2 million. It is followed by Madinah with 8.3 million and Riyadh with 7.7 million. The Eastern region has 4.1 million palm trees.
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