KSA imports fruits, vegetables worth SR4 billion annually

Updated 24 July 2013

KSA imports fruits, vegetables worth SR4 billion annually

The price of vegetables and fruits has tripled during Ramadan. This happens yearly, as demand reportedly increases by up to 15 percent.
Date prices, which usually cost SR5 per box, tripled during the holy month.
Similarly, the price of basic goods such as tomatoes and cucumbers have increased from SR2 or SR3 to SR10.
Shopkeepers, suppliers and stakeholders have placed the blame on the international market and the fact that the Kingdom imports most of its produce from neighboring countries such as Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, where political instability has caused a volatility in prices. In addition, the absence of price control within the Kingdom has also been blamed for significant price increases.
Saifullah Sharbatly, general manager at Abdullah Sharbatly, the market leader in fruit and vegetable produce in Jeddah, said there are a number of factors involved in the rise of grocery prices.
“Many natural factors affect production, including floods, drought or fire,” said Sharbatly. “A reduction in production rates naturally pushes prices up. In addition, the changes taking place in the local labor market can also account for price changes. The political unrest in neighboring countries has also played a significant role, so you can no longer adjust prices at a certain index.”
He said in Ramadan, higher consumption and demand rates result in higher prices. “If this cultural phenomenon to buy more during Ramadan didn’t exist, prices would be the same,” said Sharbatly.
He confirmed that the volume of fruit import in the Kingdom exceeds SR4 billion annually, where leading countries such as Chile, the Philippines, South Africa, India, Pakistan, France, the United States, China and Egypt regularly export fruit and vegetable to the Saudi market. “Because of our close business ties with neighboring countries in particular, any changes in these nations are immediately felt here,” said Sharbatly.
Consumers have complained that traders exploit the month of Ramadan.
Ahmad Al-Ghamdi, a consumer, said: “I was surprised by the high prices of vegetables and fruit from the first day of Ramadan. Only potatoes have increased slightly in price. Otherwise, the price of a kilo of tomatoes has risen from SR4 to SR10 and the price of a kilo of cucumber has risen from SR2 to almost SR10. The price of grapes and mango have also risen dramatically and banana prices have doubled from SR3 to SR6.”
Mohammed Al-Ameri, a shop owner selling vegetables, said that an increase in consumption rates, coupled with a lack of large quantities of produce available in the market, has caused prices to spin out of control.
Jordan has become one of the major exporting countries of vegetables after the price of Syrian produce became too high.
“Nevertheless, the situation will return to normal by the end of Ramadan or after the Eid holidays at most,” he said.

Dr. Majdah Abdulhadi Shugdar, Saudi executive

Updated 6 min 28 sec ago

Dr. Majdah Abdulhadi Shugdar, Saudi executive

Dr. Majdah Abdulhadi Shugdar has been the general supervisor of the General Directorate of Training at the Education and Training Evaluation Commission since January 2020.

In 1989, she gained a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) and a master’s degree in the same field of study, also from KAU, in 1995.

Fifteen years later, she obtained a post-graduate diploma in research management from the University of Bradford, in the UK and in 2014, a Ph.D. in business administration from Cardiff Metropolitan University, in Wales.

Shugdar worked as a laboratory quality coordinator at the clinical laboratory and blood bank of Jeddah’s King Fahd General Hospital (KFGH) from 1997 to 2001. She also worked at KFGH as director of the total quality management (TQM) department from 2008 to 2015.

In 2004, she became the director of TQM at the Jeddah-based International Medical Center (IMC), where she successfully built a database for the automatic generation of monthly reports. She also developed IMC’s TQM and patient safety plan in coordination with US-based Cleveland Clinic.

Two years later, she moved to the Saudi Central Board for Accreditation of Healthcare Institutions (CBAHI) where she was appointed as the director of the TQM department.

From 2008 to 2015, Shugdar worked as the director of the health care accreditation department at the CBAHI and between 2015 and January 2020 was a general director assistant for health care accreditation affairs with the board.

Shugdar has represented Saudi Arabia as a speaker and chairperson at a number of international events.