Growing strong: Taif rose farmers gear up for pre-production season

The Taif rose market is estimated to be worth SR52 million, with a growth potential of up to SR700 million if new opportunities are adequately exploited. (Shutterstock)
The Taif rose market is estimated to be worth SR52 million, with a growth potential of up to SR700 million if new opportunities are adequately exploited. (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 22 November 2021

Growing strong: Taif rose farmers gear up for pre-production season

The Taif rose market is estimated to be worth SR52 million, with a growth potential of up to SR700 million if new opportunities are adequately exploited. (Shutterstock)
  • Attempts to transfer and cultivate Taif roses in Europe and Arab countries have been unsuccessful, say specialists

MAKKAH: Farmers are readying their gear as the Taif Rose, a proud Saudi symbol, prepares for next year’s harvest amid fears of an early winter frost.

With its blush to bright pink hue, the beautiful flower is believed to be the sister of the Damascus rose. Legend has it that the seedlings were brought to the Kingdom five centuries ago after an Ottoman sultan offered Levantine rose seedlings to a nobleman in Makkah, who ordered that they were sent to Al-Hada Mountain in Taif for planting,  with the area known for its mild and cool weather, similar to the climate of the Levant.

Taif is home to 2,000 rose farms. It is situated 1,900 meters above sea level, giving it an ideal atmosphere for roses to grow. The roses are planted every year at the beginning of the “Al-Tarf” season — one of the agricultural seasons that encourage the branches to bear the rose fruit.

This year, cultivation specialists warned that the upcoming winter would be a critical threat to crops, and that some farm owners are considering finding warm spray pipes to combat frost.

According to a 2018 Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority report, the Taif rose market is estimated to be worth SR52 million ($13.8 million), with a growth potential of up to SR700 million if new opportunities are adequately exploited.


They noted that some attempts to cultivate Taif roses in Europe and Arab countries did not succeed. European countries received experience and guidance from cultivation experts, but the roses failed to match the Kingdom’s quality due to the different atmosphere and soil.

FASTFACTS

• Taif is home to 2,000 rose farms. It is situated 1,900 meters above sea level, giving it an ideal atmosphere for roses to grow.

• The roses are planted every year at the beginning of the ‘Al-Tarf season’ one of the agricultural seasons that encourage the branches to bear the rose fruit.

Awad Al-Talhi, who owns a rose farm in Al-Shafa in Taif, told Arab News that the high areas of Taif are the best places for planting the roses, but this also leaves them highly exposed to frost, the first major threat to the success of the farms.

Al-Talhi added that the best method for dealing with frost waves is to use specialized tanks connected to warm spray pipes to remove frozen bushes. The warm water spray is effective at keeping first at pay, but it comes with high cost.

“Rose farmers begin the process of pruning trees at the beginning of every year, which takes about two-and-a-half months, depending on the size of the farm. There is no watering of the trees in this period. By mid-March, the harvest season of Taif roses begins,” said Al-Talhi.

Al-Talhi added that regular watering begins every five days until April with the end of pruning of rose bushes.

Roses are susceptible to several diseases and insect pests. They may survive without a basic pest control program, but they may not be very attractive. A pest control program starts with proper site selection, soil preparation, drainage, proper spacing, cultivar selection, and plant maintenance. These factors foster healthy roses that are better able to withstand the pressure of disease and insects.

Taif roses were first documented by Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, who visited Taif in 1814. Maurice Tamiser, the French chief medical officer in the French armies, mentioned them in 1834 when he was sent to the Hejaz by Mohammed Ali. Other early Taif rose observers include French diplomat Leon Roches in 1841, and Swiss writer Charles Didier in 1854, and other travelers.

Al-Talhi said that exporting the roses abroad was unsuccessful, either as flowers or oils, due to the soil and weather in Taif that produces its unique atmosphere throughout the year.

“Foreign delegations visit Taif from time to time and carry out agricultural studies and take with them agricultural seedlings to their countries, but they have not succeeded in obtaining the same quality. They may achieve success in the first year, but the quality of the crop is not as good as the quality in Taif,” he said.

“Historically, there were many attempts to plant this type of rose in other regions and countries through pilgrims who were fascinated by the scent of this rose. It was cultivated in other areas, but it was not as good as the smell of the Taif rose,” said Khaled Al-Omari, a member of the Cooperative Committee for the Taif Rose.

“With time, and after attempts to study the quality of the Taif rose planted in the Taif heights, it was proven that the Taif soil over the centuries was the appropriate environment for cultivating it,” he added.

Al-Omari told Arab News that the Taif rose cannot be exported due to its sensitivity. But its perfume can be shipped abroad due to the ancient distillation method that preserves the quality of its fragrance.

“The people who are experienced and proficient in the distillation of the roses can successfully preserve the quality of the perfume, it’s a difficult and delicate process. There’s something in the water and soil: Taif roses planted in different areas come out different, they are not of the same quality and smell,” said Al-Omari.

Al-Omari added that the rare Taif rose has led to many historians offering different takes on its origin and the date of its appearance in Taif.

Women in the past used the rose as a colorful decoration and a scent that they placed between the folds of their clothes.

“Owners of rose factories used special pots that they brought from India. The first perfume produced by the owners of the old factories was sent to the pilgrims’ doctor. After that, it became famous and became the fragrance of kings, princes, and people of high positions.”

The rose shot to fame after its association with royalty and elite society. It still attracts global demand due to its rarity and quality. With distillation being conducted by just a few families who have passed down the skill over the generations, output is limited to major international companies that specialize in the perfume industry.


Saudi Arabia reaffirms full support for the stability of Yemen

The session was chaired by King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
The session was chaired by King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
Updated 09 August 2022

Saudi Arabia reaffirms full support for the stability of Yemen

The session was chaired by King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
  • Cabinet appreciated UN’s efforts for a ceasefire in Yemen

JEDDAH: The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday reaffirmed the Kingdom’s firm support for all action that can help to guarantee the security and stability of Yemen and its people.

The session was chaired by King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. According to Issam bin Saad bin Saeed, the member for Shoura Council affairs and acting minister of media, the Cabinet members expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the UN to improve the adherence to the ceasefire in Yemen, in line with the Saudi initiative, announced in March last year, to end the crisis in the country and reach a comprehensive political resolution.
The ministers also expressed their hopes that the Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum, which is being organized by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center in partnership with the UN and will take place in February, will contribute to efforts to find innovative and practical solutions that can help provide humanitarian aid to the highest standards and achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

FASTFACT

The ministers also expressed their hopes that the Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum, which is being organized by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center in partnership with the UN in February.

Ministers also reiterated the Kingdom’s assertion, made this month during the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, of support for international efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and place its nuclear facilities under a comprehensive system of safeguards under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The council said it considers the stability and balance of oil markets as one of the pillars of the Kingdom’s energy strategy.
It described oil as an important element in supporting the growth of the global economy, as reflected in Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in establishing and maintaining the OPEC+ agreement on production quotas. Members stressed the importance of full compliance with those quotas by all OPEC+ member nations.
The council session concluded with the approval of a number of decisions. The chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence was tasked with negotiating with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development a draft administrative agreement between Saudi Arabia and the bank on a multi-donor trust fund for a digital development partnership.
The minister of energy and the minister of tourism were asked to draft and sign a cooperation agreement between their ministries and their counterparts in Thailand in the fields of energy and tourism.
A memorandum of understanding on labor cooperation between the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population was approved, as were two MoUs for cooperation in the transport and logistics sector between the Kingdom’s Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services and the French Ministry of Ecological Transition. Ministers also approved an MoU for cooperation between the Saudi General Authority for Statistics and the British Office for National Statistics.

 


National Cybersecurity Authority launches CyberIC to develop sector in Saudi Arabia

National Cybersecurity Authority launches CyberIC to develop sector in Saudi Arabia
Updated 09 August 2022

National Cybersecurity Authority launches CyberIC to develop sector in Saudi Arabia

National Cybersecurity Authority launches CyberIC to develop sector in Saudi Arabia
  • The CyberIC program is designed to develop the skills of more than 10,000 Saudis and stimulate the wider domestic cybersecurity sector
  • The program offers courses that include virtual exercises so as to ensure that participants are ready to confront the most significant cybersecurity challenges

JEDDAH: The National Cybersecurity Authority on Monday announced the launch of a new program, CyberIC, to develop the cybersecurity sector in Saudi Arabia.

The program is aimed at developing the capabilities of cybersecurity specialists working with national authorities and stimulating the domestic cybersecurity ecosystem by increasing the development and localization of cybersecurity products, services and solutions.

The CyberIC program is designed to develop the skills of more than 10,000 Saudis and stimulate the wider domestic cybersecurity sector in line with international best practices.

The first phase of the program includes a number of initiatives, such as providing training for employees of national authorities working in cybersecurity and related fields and accelerating cybersecurity activities to stimulate the sector.

It will also include the launch of the second version of the cybersecurity challenge and offer programs for chief information security officers in cooperation with prestigious international universities in the field.

To ensure participants are ready to confront the most significant cybersecurity challenges, the program offers courses that include virtual exercises that simulate real cyberattacks and incidents.

The program is based on six main tracks: innovation and entrepreneurship, cybersecurity officers, cybersecurity trainers, fresh graduates, cybersecurity specialists and law enforcement agencies.

It will support the growth of the cybersecurity industry in the Kingdom by helping more than 60 national cybersecurity startups. Forty have already been launched, while the other 20 will be established through the cybersecurity challenge.


Saudi Arabia demands halt to Israeli attacks as three more Palestinians die in raid

Saudi Arabia demands halt to Israeli attacks as three more Palestinians die in raid
Updated 56 min 53 sec ago

Saudi Arabia demands halt to Israeli attacks as three more Palestinians die in raid

Saudi Arabia demands halt to Israeli attacks as three more Palestinians die in raid
  • At a Cabinet meeting in Jeddah chaired by King Salman, ministers urged the international community to assume its responsibilities and exert all efforts to end the conflict

RAMALLAH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday demanded international action to halt deadly attacks by Israeli armed forces on the Palestinian people.

At a Cabinet meeting in Jeddah chaired by King Salman, ministers urged the international community to assume its responsibilities and exert all efforts to end the conflict.

The Saudi call came as three Palestinians were killed and 40 injured in an Israeli raid in Nablus in the northern West Bank, and 17-year-old Moamen Jaber died from his wounds in hospital in Hebron after being shot by Israeli soldiers in earlier clashes in Bab Al-Zawiya.

The four deaths brought the number of people killed this year by Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to 130.

"From Nablus to Hebron, after Gaza and Jenin, the occupation continues to commit its open crimes against our people in all the occupied territories,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said.

Tuesday’s deaths came after elite Israeli forces surrounded a house in the old city of Nablus in the early morning, closing in on Ibrahim Al-Nabulsi of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, and at least one other member of the group, named as Islam Sabbouh.

After Nabulsi refused requests to surrender, Israeli forces opened fire and struck the house with Matador anti-armor missiles, killing the men inside. Another Palestinian, 16-year-old Hussein Jamal Taha, was also killed.

Thousands of Palestinians took part in the three funerals, the largest in Nablus for 20 years.

Violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces broke out across the West Bank, wounding at least 20 civilians, most young men. A general strike was called in a show of mourning.

Nabulsi had survived several previous attempts to arrest or assassinate him over the past five months.

The new attack came less than 48 hours after Israel suspended its military operations in the Gaza Strip, which claimed the lives of 46 Palestinians, and injured more than 300 civilians, including women, children and the elderly.

Nabil Aburudina, spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority, condemned the killings in Nablus and said the Israeli occupation was approaching a comprehensive confrontation with the entire Palestinian people through its aggression.

Aburudina said the Israeli government was not interested in achieving peace and stability, and was working to shed Palestinian blood to achieve gains in Israeli internal politics.

He said the US delegate to the UN, by emphasising Israel’s right to defend itself, supported the Israeli narrative, which was unacceptable because Israel was the aggressor. If this aggression continued against the Palestinian people, it would ignite violence across the region, he said.

Taysir Nasrallah, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council and a prominent leader in Nablus who attended the funerals on Tuesday, told Arab News that mourners chanted slogans calling for revenge against Israel.

Nasrallah said: “It seems that Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid started his electoral campaign early by killing the largest number of Palestinians, which would enable him to obtain the largest number of votes.”

The Palestinians believe that the recent Israeli military escalations in Jenin, Gaza and Nablus are linked to the Israeli election campaign, with votes scheduled to take place on Nov. 1, and that Lapid, who lacks the military experience of his strongest rival, Benjamin Netanyahu, wishes to appear to voters as capable of dealing militarily with the Palestinians.

“We believe that there are electoral goals for this unprecedented military escalation against the Palestinians, and this confirms that Israel’s leaders have no project towards the Palestinians other than killing,” Nasrallah said.

He called on the PA to take a decisive decision to end its relationship with Israel.

“The new Palestinian generation does not believe in the approach of negotiations, which has not brought any result to the Palestinians for 27 years except by increasing settlements, killings and destruction against the Palestinians. Therefore, the Palestinian Authority must take a decisive decision to completely end the relationship with Israel, regardless of the results of this decision,” he said.

Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti told Arab News that the Israel crimes would lead to a comprehensive Palestinian popular uprising.


Saudi Arabia’s Real Estate authority reports 2,291 violations

This file photo, shows a general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP)
This file photo, shows a general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP)
Updated 09 August 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Real Estate authority reports 2,291 violations

This file photo, shows a general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP)
  • Saudi Center for Real Estate Arbitration recorded a total of 97 real estate disputes

RIYADH: The Real Estate General Authority reported 2,291 violations of real estate advertisements from June 23 until Aug. 9 of which 1,385 of which have been processed.

The authority confirmed that it had received 160 real estate reports and 5,600 applications to serve as real estate advertisers, of which 498 are for establishments and 5,100 for individuals.

The authority pointed out that the number of registered users in the real estate service “Iqari” exceeded 8,100 beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Center for Real Estate Arbitration also recorded a total of 97 real estate disputes.

The authority called on the real estate dealers to submit reports of any violations through their website: https://eservices.rega.gov.sa or through the toll-free number 8003030099.

These efforts come within the authority’s attempts to follow up on the implementation of the real estate advertisement protocols and the e-platforms licensing standards to develop the non-governmental real estate sector.

 

 

 

 

 


Taif University offers range of quality programs

Taif University is offering quality programs to meet the demands of the labor market. (SPA)
Taif University is offering quality programs to meet the demands of the labor market. (SPA)
Updated 59 min 55 sec ago

Taif University offers range of quality programs

Taif University is offering quality programs to meet the demands of the labor market. (SPA)
  • The university said that the programs come in partnership with the private sector and aim to keep pace with the tertiary sector by providing employment opportunities to college graduates

TAIF: Taif University is offering its students a range of quality programs designed to meet the demands of the labor market.
Students who complete the programs will be equipped with skills that match the Kingdom’s economic objectives. 
The university has increased its acceptance of high school graduates and developed links with the private sector through strategic partnerships.
Diploma courses will be offered in network management systems, programming and computer science, advertising and marketing communication, executive secretarial, accounting, finance and investment management, risk and insurance management and engineering technology, in addition to a legal assistant diploma and management information systems qualifications.
The applied college programs will be for two academic years, with a three-semester system for each academic year.  An intermediate diploma will be issued to students who pass all courses within two academic years and a co-diploma to those students who wish to leave after completing all courses in a full academic year. 
An English language training certificate for students will also be issued after the first or second semester.
The university said that the programs come in partnership with the private sector and aim to keep pace with the tertiary sector by providing employment opportunities to college graduates.