JAZAN: Nearly 200 farmers will come together in the Al-Dayer governorate, located in the eastern part of the Jazan region, to showcase their products in the seventh annual Coffee Beans Festival, taking place from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4. While the region remains known for Khawlani coffee, its most famous product, visitors will get the chance to peruse a variety of coffee beans, offering different aromas and tastes.
Launched in 2013, the festival includes a coffee exhibition as well as numerous local cultural, entertainment and shopping activities. Over the years, the festival has contributed to the return in local farmers’ interest in coffee cultivation as well as the opening of a branch of the Ministry of Agriculture in Al-Dayer.
Award-winning coffee farmer Hussain Hadi Al-Malki, who hails from the Al-Dayer governorate, told Arab News that the Jazan region produced 250 tons of coffee beans last year, but by the end of 2020 production is estimated to reach 300 tons, highlighting the importance of the beans to the local economy.
This year, the festival has expanded to include a coffee street, a cinema showing films on coffee production and touristic routes that will underline the historical importance of coffee bean cultivation in the region. Mefarah Al-Malki, director of the festival, stated that such activities will shine a spotlight on the achievements of young Saudi men and women working to cultivate coffee in Jazan.
Sixty-five percent of farmers in the mountains of Jazan are from the Al-Dayer governorate, according to the Jazan Mountain Development and Reconstruction Authority. The second largest number hail from Fayfa at 12 percent, followed by the governorates of Al- Reeth, Al-Edabi, Al-Aridhah and Harub. According to Hussain Hadi Al-Malki, the number of coffee farmers in the region has now exceeded 700 — and their work will go on show at the event.
Coffee beans from the region are a national treasure and crucial to the preservation of Saudi heritage and identity. So much so that in 2019, the Saudi Heritage Preservation Society, a nongovernmental organization established in 2010, applied to UNESCO to provide protection for art of Khawlani coffee making.
As investors flock to the Jazan region, lured by its landscape, unique history and opportunities, the Coffee Bean Festival is gaining momentum as an event that preserves a vital aspect of the Kingdom’s ancient past.