RIYADH: Qassim, which hosts the world’s largest date festival in Buraidah every year at this time, is swirling with activities, with date farmers expecting high sales figures during this year’s 45-day festival.
The festival, which 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, was launched in Buraidah on Saturday by the Qassim governorate.
Saudi Arabia has the highest number of the date palm trees in the world, roughly accounting for 25 percent of the world date production. The Qassim region alone has around 7 million date palm trees, the highest among all regions in the Kingdom.
Commenting on Buraidah Date Festival 2017, Khalid Al-Niqaidan, chief executive officer of the festival, said that integrated services that will be supportive to farmers, traders and consumers have been set up in one of the biggest economic gatherings in the world.
He added that quality-control teams have been assigned to ensure that date products are free from pesticides, fraud and other irregularities. Additionally, a guide office has been established to guide customers on the finest types of dates, while a tent was set aside to allow youths sell dates on a retail basis.
This year, the organizers introduced new functions and programs to attract the broad participation of families, children and youths. These programs include a number of activities related to dates, as well as social and cultural programs. There are informative and recreational sessions accompanying the festival, including an awareness program for youths to encourage them to enter the market.
The annual date festival is an important event to source products to be used for date derivatives including date syrup, date paste and date gifts boxes to be used for all occasions throughout the year.
The Ministry of Water, Environment and Agriculture encourages date farming, allocates land, helps farmers purchase farming equipment and provides farmers access to long-term loans through the Saudi Arabian Agricultural Bank.