JEDDAH: With 1 million mango trees, Jazan farmers have made great strides in expanding their production of tropical fruit for local and international markets.
With this initiative, as part of Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s southwestern region has reintroduced itself as a key player on the country’s agricultural development map.
In January 2019, King Salman inaugurated the Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program, which aims to boost the production, processing and marketing of fruit, fish, livestock, Arabic coffee, and the cultivation of rain-fed crops.
The program also aims to improve the income of small farmers, create jobs, contribute to food security, and sustainable development of all agricultural products.
According to a report carried by the Saudi Press Agency, some 250,000 mango trees produced over 18,000 tons of fruit per annum, as estimated in May 2005. The number of farms increased to over 19,100 in 2022, with 1 million mango trees, at an annual production rate of more than 65,000 tons of fruit.
Mango cultivation is spread over several governorates in the Jazan region. Sabya is home to one of the country’s largest farms, with more than 30,000 trees and an annual production of more than 600 tons.
The region’s Agricultural Research Center has contributed significantly to the development of mango cultivation. The center’s nurseries include the oldest varieties of mango that were planted in 1973 to test whether they would grow well in the region. Other experiments began in 1983, with the introduction of new mango types that were imported from countries including Kenya, Egypt and India.
The imported mango trees that were successfully grown in the region include the special Indian type, Tommy Atkins, Keitt, Kent, and Palmer along with others that produce more than 55 varieties.
The Jazan branch of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, through the Agricultural Research Center, provides support services to the region’s farmers to help them increase the quality and quantity of their production.
The assistance includes soil and water analysis services to help farmers determine the appropriate crops to be planted, in addition to fertilization, technical instructions and seedlings at low cost.
The Jazan mango production season begins in the middle of March and reaches its peak in May.