Saudi Arabia’s Jabaliyah coffee sets its sights on tapping Jazan’s potential

Saudi Arabia’s Jabaliyah coffee sets its sights on tapping Jazan’s potential
1 / 6
With its 15,000 coffee trees, Aal Qotail, in the Al-Daair governorate of Jazan region, is the base of Jabaliyah, a Saudi business venture that aims to bring the humble khowlani bean to luxury consumers everywhere. (AN Photo)
Saudi Arabia’s Jabaliyah coffee sets its sights on tapping Jazan’s potential
2 / 6
With its 15,000 coffee trees, Aal Qotail, in the Al-Daair governorate of Jazan region, is the base of Jabaliyah, a Saudi business venture that aims to bring the humble khowlani bean to luxury consumers everywhere. (AN Photo)
Saudi Arabia’s Jabaliyah coffee sets its sights on tapping Jazan’s potential
3 / 6
With its 15,000 coffee trees, Aal Qotail, in the Al-Daair governorate of Jazan region, is the base of Jabaliyah, a Saudi business venture that aims to bring the humble khowlani bean to luxury consumers everywhere. (AN Photo)
Saudi Arabia’s Jabaliyah coffee sets its sights on tapping Jazan’s potential
4 / 6
With its 15,000 coffee trees, Aal Qotail, in the Al-Daair governorate of Jazan region, is the base of Jabaliyah, a Saudi business venture that aims to bring the humble khowlani bean to luxury consumers everywhere. (AN Photo)
Saudi Arabia’s Jabaliyah coffee sets its sights on tapping Jazan’s potential
5 / 6
With its 15,000 coffee trees, Aal Qotail, in the Al-Daair governorate of Jazan region, is the base of Jabaliyah, a Saudi business venture that aims to bring the humble khowlani bean to luxury consumers everywhere. (AN Photo)
Saudi Arabia’s Jabaliyah coffee sets its sights on tapping Jazan’s potential
6 / 6
With its 15,000 coffee trees, Aal Qotail, in the Al-Daair governorate of Jazan region, is the base of Jabaliyah, a Saudi business venture that aims to bring the humble khowlani bean to luxury consumers everywhere. (AN Photo)
Short Url
Updated 03 November 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Jabaliyah coffee sets its sights on tapping Jazan’s potential

Saudi Arabia’s Jabaliyah coffee sets its sights on tapping Jazan’s potential
  • First exclusively Saudi-origin coffee brand is helping local farmers in the region adopt modern business practices
  • Co-founder Ali Al-Sheneamer says firms such as Jabaliyah are giving customers good value and growers a fair deal

JAZAN, SAUDI ARABIA: Hugging Saudi Arabia’s mountainous southern border with Yemen lies a village with a brand of coffee whose time has come. With its 15,000 coffee trees, Aal Qotail, in the Al-Daair governorate of Jazan region, is the base of Jabaliyah, a Saudi business venture that aims to bring the humble khowlani bean to luxury consumers everywhere.

Growing khowlani beans has long been part of the heritage of this region, but it has only recently matured into a viable industry thanks to a double shot of support from the government and the private sector.

Ali Al-Sheneamer, co-founder of Jabaliyah — the first coffee brand to originate exclusively in Saudi Arabia — told Arab News that although they are only a small team, they have ambitious plans to grow from tall to grande.

 

 

“We started this a few years back with Mango Jazan. We believe we created a good brand,” said Al-Sheneamer, referring to their earlier tropical-fruit venture. Now the team has set its sights on the region’s bountiful coffee-growing potential.

“Next is to get Jabaliyah. And there is more to come in the future from the region of Jazan and other regions of Saudi Arabia.”

Coffee beans have been grown in Jazan’s cloud-wrapped mountains for hundreds of years. Until now, it was just a small farming industry serving local consumption. But thanks to government support for local farmers, the region’s agriculture is developing fast.

“Aramco also conducted a great program, educating farmers on the best methods of irrigation, how to improve quality. So, we have seen rapid development over the past five to seven years in growing coffee beans,” Al-Sheneamer said.




Growing khowlani beans has long been part of the heritage of this region, but it has only recently matured into a viable industry thanks to a double shot of support from the government and the private sector. (AN Photo)

The Jabaliyah team has been scouring local crops for a top-quality yield to invest in — one that will generate profits for their brand but also for the farmers themselves.

“We wanted the farmers to create better value,” said Al-Sheneamer. “Most of us are marketeers. We are in the business where if you sell a commodity, you get a return for that. If you sell branded goods, you maximize the value. So, we wanted to maximize the value for the farmers.

“I don’t want to go and negotiate prices with farmers at this stage. I want them to actually make a good return so they can invest to grow their capacity, become more professional, employ more people, and improve quality, so this can become a sizable industry that benefits all of us and the local community as well.”




Coffee beans have been grown in Jazan’s cloud-wrapped mountains for hundreds of years. (AN Photo)

Al-Sheneamer himself comes from a farming family in rural Jazan, so the principle of giving growers a better deal on their produce is close to his heart.

“Most people in villages and small towns are farmers. If you look at the coffee-bean farmers specifically, there are between 600 to 700 farmers today in that line of business,” he said.




Ali Al-Sheneamer

Much as he would like to, Al-Sheneamer cannot buy from every farmer. But with time he wants to help rural communities adapt to the demands of the modern economy, understand shipping and logistics, and to move growers away from traditional farming methods.

“I aspire to work with all of them — I might not be able to — but at least the top 25 to 30 farmers over the coming few years, who would provide the highest percentage of the production of coffee beans in the region,” Al-Sheneamer said. “We not only want to grow Jabaliyah in Saudi Arabia but also want to start exporting that brand to the world.”




According to the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the Kingdom today has roughly 125,000 coffee trees, of which 76,000 are producing beans. (AN Photo)

According to the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the Kingdom today has roughly 125,000 coffee trees, of which 76,000 are producing beans. Al-Sheneamer expects the market to double in size over the coming two to three years as more trees start producing.

“The government has a vision to increase the number of coffee bean trees in the region to 1 million by 2030. That’s huge by all measures. That’s also challenging, given the difficult terrain of growing and using the mountains, to have more space to grow coffee beans there, but this shows you that there is determination from the government to create this industry and put these Saudi coffee beans, the khowlani beans, on the map.”

Al-Sheneamer admits it will take time for farmers to get used to modern business integration, “moving a farmer who grew up seeing his father farming and his grandfather farming into becoming a more professional farmer, dealing with suppliers, distributors, money — some of whom don’t even have official establishments that can help them start transacting in a B2B manner.”

But Jabaliyah is committed to working with farmers to help them make the transition, because the returns for both the company and rural communities could be huge.




 With its 15,000 coffee trees, Aal Qotail, in the Al-Daair governorate of Jazan region, is the base of Jabaliyah, a Saudi business venture that aims to bring the humble khowlani bean to luxury consumers everywhere. (Supplied)

Al-Sheneamer worked a similar miracle with Mango Jazan. A few years ago, during a visit to the region, he noticed an abundance of mango trees — today around 400,000 of them.

“I wrote on Twitter, asking the Jazanian people to consider exporting them to other cities and this was picked up by my partner Abdulrahman Al-Sahily,” he said. “And in a matter of three days he had a website set up and people started putting in orders. He would go to the airport and cargo them to different cities. It was a very hectic operation.”

The partners were soon able to streamline their operation, making Mango Jazan a well-known brand. “Everyone awaits the season of mangoes. And it was recently acquired, or majority share acquired, by a publicly listed company on the stock market to use it as the base to market other local produce, not only from Jazan but from all around the country,” he said.




Agriculture is a booming industry in Saudi Arabia and Al-Sheneamer is glad to see other entrepreneurs following Mango Jazan’s example in Al-Bahah and Al-Jouf. (AN Photo)

“That’s why we are now pivoting from mangoes — being seasonal, i.e. a two-month, three-month period — into coffee beans, which will be year-round. Then we will start introducing new brands as we go, whether they be fruits or honey or other local produce of high value and high quality that people are willing to pay for and buy online versus going to their local grocery store.”

Agriculture is a booming industry in Saudi Arabia and Al-Sheneamer is glad to see other entrepreneurs following Mango Jazan’s example in Al-Bahah and Al-Jouf.

“I just ordered olive oil online from Al-Jouf through one of the startups that actually followed in the footsteps of Mango Jazan. I think Saudis today would love to support and encourage these types of businesses to encourage local farmers.”

----------------------

Twitter: @HussamMayman


Makkah’s Grand Mosque ready to receive worshippers at full capacity

Makkah’s Grand Mosque ready to receive worshippers at full capacity
Updated 45 min 11 sec ago

Makkah’s Grand Mosque ready to receive worshippers at full capacity

Makkah’s Grand Mosque ready to receive worshippers at full capacity
  • Visitors to the mosque will still be required to wear face masks and make reservations through the relevant apps
  • Workers at the mosque on Saturday were seen removing stickers reminding people to socially distance

RIYADH: The Grand Mosque in Makkah is ready to receive pilgrims and worshippers at full capacity on Sunday as Saudi Arabia loosens COVID-19 restrictions, an official said.

The Under-Secretary-General for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque, Dr. Saad bin Mohammed Al-Muhaimid, said that a plan has been implemented for the mosque to operate at full capacity whilst ensuring the safety of all.

Al-Muhaimid added that visitors to the holy mosque will still be required to wear face masks and make reservations to perform Umrah and prayers through the Tawakkalna and Eatmarna applications.

Workers at the Grand Mosque on Saturday evening were seen peeling stickers reminding people to socially distance off the floor, marking an end to the era of people in the Kingdom praying with 1-2 meter gaps between them due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Sunday, social distancing will no longer be mandatory at social gatherings or in public settings including on public transport and in restaurants, cinemas, and malls.

Face masks will no longer be mandatory in outdoor settings, except for certain specific locations including the two holy mosques.


Saudi Arabia announces 2 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 2 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 16 October 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 2 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 2 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 536,900
  • A total of 8,760 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced two deaths from COVID-19 and 45 new infections on Saturday.

Of the new cases, 20 were recorded in Riyadh, five in Jeddah, two in Tabuk, two in Makkah, two in Al-Khobar, and two in Yanbu. Several other cities recorded one new case each.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 536,900 after 41 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,760 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Over 44.4 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


KSA, Egypt discuss environmental cooperation

KSA, Egypt discuss environmental cooperation
Updated 16 October 2021

KSA, Egypt discuss environmental cooperation

KSA, Egypt discuss environmental cooperation
  • The men praised their countries’ successful cooperation in the field of environmental protection

CAIRO: Egypt’s Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad and her Saudi counterpart Abdulrahman Al-Fadley discussed environmental cooperation between their two countries.

They praised their countries’ successful cooperation in the field of environmental protection, with Fouad saying the environment is a priority for Egypt’s leadership.

She also welcomed cooperation with Saudi Arabia in terms of converting waste into energy.

The two sides discussed cooperation in the fields of coastal management, marine policies, environmental monitoring, management of chemicals and hazardous waste, and integration of environmental knowledge into educational curricula.

Al-Fadley expressed his aspiration to cooperate with Egypt in the field of water desalination and reusing extracted salt.

The two sides agreed to focus on cooperating to preserve the Red Sea, with Fouad noting its richness in coral reefs and marine life.


Saudi envoy to UK details rapid modernization under crown prince

Saudi envoy to UK details rapid modernization under crown prince
Updated 16 October 2021

Saudi envoy to UK details rapid modernization under crown prince

Saudi envoy to UK details rapid modernization under crown prince
  • Prince Khalid: “We have a very young population. They want a different world”
  • “I grew up with religious police telling us what to do, but now it’s about letting people make their own choices”

LONDON: The Saudi ambassador to Britain has praised the wide-ranging modernization efforts carried out by the Kingdom’s leadership.

“In the last five years the pace has been huge — 1,000 laws have been altered or removed,” Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan told The Times.

“There is a misconception about Saudi that we never change, but going back 100 years it’s been dramatic. My grandfather went to work on horseback, my father flew fast fighter jets, and my cousin went into space.”

Prince Khalid said the way the Kingdom legislates for women is also changing. “Just before I was posted here (in the UK), I went back for two days and I called one of my sisters and said, ‘Let’s go for a coffee. Shall I come and pick you up?’ and she said, ‘No, I’ve got my car.’ It brought a real smile to my face,” he said.

“Ten years ago it would have been unthinkable for her to have a job, let alone drive. We are still a very conservative society but we have a very young population. They want a different world.”

The ambassador, who attended the prestigious Eton College before Oxford University and Sandhurst, said: “I feel very Saudi, but I was brought up in the West.” 

His links to Britain are strong, not only through being educated in the UK but also through his English wife Lucy Cuthbert, a niece of the duke of Northumberland.

Prince Khalid has seen some of the modernization he witnessed in Britain appearing in his homeland, including mobile phones, which he said have made a huge difference to Saudi society.

“We have one of the highest percentages of phones per capita in the world, nearly three phones per person,” he added.

“The young are all over Instagram. In my generation, there wasn’t much entertainment at home so we had to go abroad. Now the young want to go to shops and cinemas, and there has been an explosion of events,” he said.

“There are women-only sections but no enforced separation. I grew up with religious police telling us what to do, but now it’s about letting people make their own choices.”

He told The Times that his sister said she “discovered there wasn’t a glass ceiling — it was more of a soft tent and she could push it out.”

The ambassador said 34 percent of the Saudi workforce is made up of women, dramatically leaping from 18 percent in 2016.

“We have had our first graduation for women in the army, there are women in government, in the police, we are training female judges, we have an equal opportunities and equal pay law,” he added.

Prince Khalid also detailed the rapid expansion of the Saudi tourism industry, including the giga-projects being planned. 

“In 2019 we launched our tourist visa online. We issued 440,000 visas before the pandemic started, 60,000 to the UK,” he said.

“We are developing resorts with a Red Sea project and NEOM, a new futuristic city. Saudi Arabia is the size of Western Europe. We also have 330 heritage sites.” These giga-projects are part of $7 trillion of investment under the Vision 2030 reform plan.

The Kingdom is expected to participate in the UN Climate Change conference, also known as Cop26, in Glasgow later this month. 

“We decided to move away from fossil fuels in 2016. We don’t want to be an oil provider but an energy provider,” said Prince Khalid. “We have committed to producing 50 percent of our energy by renewable sources by 2030.”


Who’s Who: Alaa Abdulaal, VP at the global Digital Cooperation Organization

Who’s Who: Alaa Abdulaal, VP at the global Digital Cooperation Organization
Updated 16 October 2021

Who’s Who: Alaa Abdulaal, VP at the global Digital Cooperation Organization

Who’s Who: Alaa Abdulaal, VP at the global Digital Cooperation Organization

Alaa Abdulaal has been the vice president of strategy and governance at the Digital Cooperation Organization since September 2021.

The organization, a global multilateral entity that aims at increasing social prosperity through accelerating the growth of the digital economy, was established by a group of countries that share an interest in collaborating to realize their collective digital potential. These countries are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Nigeria, Oman, and Pakistan.

Prior to joining the organization, Abdulaal had served for more than a year as the director of IT strategy and governance at the Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services. For over nine years, beginning in 2011, she worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a database unit leader, technical operation strategist, and a strategic planning and development manager.

In the latter role she established key performance metrics, designed reporting solutions, and promoted the use of structured information to drive enhanced business performance. She also led critical communication development and business reporting.

In 2015, she spent eight months as a research intern at Riva Modeling Systems in Toronto, where she demonstrated a strong interest and aptitude for user experience.

Before that, she worked for more than four years as a database administrator at the Saudi Exchange Market. There, she helped enhance the database’s performance and security. Her job responsibilities also included evaluating the proposed auditing systems and developing the availability process from scratch with the IT service management project consultants. Moreover, she created availability dashboards for Tadawul production services.

Abdulaal received a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2006 from King Saud University, where she graduated with first class honors. In 2014, she obtained a master’s degree, majoring in applied computing, with the highest GPA result.

She is a certified strategic business planner and a professional business process manager.