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Madinah’s date market bustling with pilgrims

Pilgrims and visitors are seen at the Central Date Market near the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. (AN photo)

MADINAH: Pilgrims and visitors are flocking to the Central Date Market near the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah to buy different kinds of dates, a traditional present upon returning to their countries.
An Arab News reporter saw waves of pilgrims of different nationalities at the bustling market.
The high-quality Ajwah date ranged from SR35 ($9) to SR50 per kilogram. The high-quality Anbarah cost SR40-55 per kilogram. Al-Safwi was sold at SR15-25 per kilogram. Al-Siqi cost SR15-20 per kilogram.
Date-shop owners at the market told Arab News that pilgrims who most like to buy dates are Turks, followed by Indonesians, Malaysians, Pakistanis and Gulf nationals.
Hammoud Alitha Al-Harbi, head of the Cooperative Agricultural Association in Madinah, told Arab News that Madinah is one of the Kingdom’s greatest producers of dates.
With the city attracting up to 10 million pilgrims and visitors throughout the year, it has became the main seller of Saudi dates.
There are almost 18,000 date palm farms in the country, with more than 3.5 million palm trees producing around 360 types. Of these, 20 kinds make up 70 percent of Madinah’s annual production, which reaches up to 300,000 tons, representing 32 percent of Saudi dates and generating around SR9 million in revenue annually.
Madinah produces the famous Ruthana and Rabeia varieties, as well as Ajwa, Barni, Majdoul, Anbara and Safawa, which are the most in-demand among residents and visitors.
Statistics show that each pilgrim buys an average of 5-10 kilograms of dates.

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