Saudi date industry targets East Asian markets, says official

The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023. (NCPD)
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The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023. (NCPD)
The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023. (NCPD)
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The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023. (NCPD)
The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023. (NCPD)
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The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023. (NCPD)
The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023. (NCPD)
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The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023. (NCPD)
The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023. (NCPD)
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The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023. (NCPD)
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Updated 03 March 2024
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Saudi date industry targets East Asian markets, says official

The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023. (NCPD)
  • Kingdom’s date exports hit $390m, marking a 14% rise in 2023

RIYADH: The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023, reaching SR 1.462 billion ($390 million), compared to SR 1.280 billion in 2022, according to a report released by the National Center for Palms and Dates.

By the end of 2023, the number of countries importing Saudi dates had reached 119. The total value of date and date by-product exports increased by 152.5 percent since 2016, from SR579 million in 2016 to SR1.462 billion in 2023, with a compound annual growth rate of 12.3 percent.

The rate of increase in 2023 compared to the previous year and the market entry of about 120 countries “mean a lot to us,” while the cumulative annual rate (12 percent annually) — compared to the base year 2016 — indicates that “we are steadily entering global markets and expanding steadily as well,” said Dr. Mohammed Al-Nuwairan, CEO of the center.

Date exports to Singapore recorded an 86 percent increase in 2023, while South Korea saw a 24 percent increase, and France experienced a 16 percent increase.

Currently, more than 20 Saudi companies are approved by Chinese customs, and this is reflected in the expansion of the Kingdom’s exports of dates to China. There is a focus on East Asian markets more clearly than other global markets, Al-Nuwairan added.




Dr. Mohammed Al-Nuwairan, CEO of the National Center for Palms and Dates. (Supplied)

He told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is not limited to exporting dates only, “but rather the export extends to include date derivatives such as molasses, pastes, and others, which enhances the presence of exports from the sector outside Saudi Arabia.

“East Asian countries are receiving attention from Saudi exports of dates, especially to Singapore, situated in the heart of countries targeted for exporting dates and their derivatives, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and also China in particular. What supports this is the high demand for Saudi dates, which possess high nutritional values and production quality,” Al-Nuwairan added.

He expects the growth rate of date exports to increase, “or to remain stable at least,” in the next five years.

Al-Nuwairan pointed out that there is a significant trend from local and international partners to invest in the sector, especially concerning plastic wood derived from palm trees, and date products such as powder, molasses, pastes, and vinegar that can be derived from dates.

The date derivatives can be used in various products such as dairy, bakery, ice cream, and confectionery factories.

“We are currently engaged in serious discussions with large international food companies to include date derivatives in food industries,” Al-Nuwairan said.

He affirmed the concerted efforts between Saudi date producers, exporters, and government sectors to support marketing activities in targeted countries. This includes participation in local and international exhibitions, trade missions, facilitating export procedures, and collaborating with the private sector under a joint strategy, all under ambitious and supportive leadership.

Al-Nuwairan emphasized that efforts are ongoing to enhance the presence of Saudi dates worldwide, noting that Saudi date exports have witnessed significant increases in many countries. He pointed out that date exports to China increased by 121 percent last year compared to 2022.

Through its strategy and partnership with the private sector, the National Center for Palms and Dates aims to achieve its strategic objectives, with Saudi dates being the first choice for consumers globally, according to Al-Nuwairan.

The center implements several initiatives, including increasing national exports of dates and their derivatives, improving agricultural and industrial practices to enhance production quality, providing marketing services, and necessary information about the sector, and empowering the sector, he added.


Saudi foreign minister praises China’s support for Gaza ceasefire efforts

Saudi foreign minister praises China’s support for Gaza ceasefire efforts
Updated 30 May 2024
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Saudi foreign minister praises China’s support for Gaza ceasefire efforts

Saudi foreign minister praises China’s support for Gaza ceasefire efforts
  • Prince Faisal reiterated calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza and an uninterrupted flow of aid into the enclave

BEIJING: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Thursday praised China’s support for efforts to end the war on Gaza and push for the two-state solution.

In his address at the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing, Prince Faisal reiterated calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza and an uninterrupted flow of aid into the enclave.

He called for deeper cooperation to establish a reliable and irreversible path to the two-state solution, noting that constant dialogue is crucial for achieving regional peace.

He rejected foreign interference in the Middle East and called for efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction in the region.

China hosted a summit on Thursday focusing on the Israel-Hamas war in which Chinese President Xi Jinping promised more humanitarian aid in Gaza and called for an international peace conference.

The summit, attended by heads of state from Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain and Tunisia among others, was set to address China’s expanding trade ties and security concerns related to the Israel-Hamas war.


KSrelief extends training, water, health projects in Yemen

KSrelief extends training, water, health projects in Yemen
Updated 30 May 2024
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KSrelief extends training, water, health projects in Yemen

KSrelief extends training, water, health projects in Yemen

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s aid agency KSrelief is extending its training, food and health projects for vulnerable people in Yemen, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

In Taiz and the Hadramout governorate, the agency launched a life-skills program for orphans and women, which including sewing, managing businesses, and maintaining mobile phones.

In Aden, KSrelief concluded a training program on community cohesion in cooperation with the UN Development Programme, covering peace committees, conflict resolution and mediation.

In addition, the aid agency distributed 634 food parcels to 4,438 individuals in Aden.

In Hodeidah, 2,600 personal hygiene bags were delivered to displaced people in the Al-Jisha and Bani Jaber camps.

KSrelief also signed a deal with a civil society organization in Taiz to dig a well in the area that would benefit 3,150 individuals.

In Socotra governorate, KSrelief signed a pact with a civil society organization to construct a tank that would supply clean water to villages.


Saudi Railways announces increased seating capacity of Haramain High-Speed Train for Hajj season

Saudi Railways announces increased seating capacity of Haramain High-Speed Train for Hajj season
Updated 30 May 2024
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Saudi Railways announces increased seating capacity of Haramain High-Speed Train for Hajj season

Saudi Railways announces increased seating capacity of Haramain High-Speed Train for Hajj season

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia Railways on Wednesday announced the readiness of the Haramain High-Speed Railway to receive pilgrims for this year’s Hajj season and said it has increased the number of available seats by about 100,000.

SAR revealed its operational plan for the season at its five stations linking Makkah to Madinah, bringing the total number of seats to 1.6 million, up from more than a 1.3 million seating capacity last year, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The 453-kilometer railway passes through the main Jeddah station in the Sulaymaniyah district, King Abdulaziz Airport station in Jeddah, and King Abdullah Economic City. 
“This expansion also considers the addition of more than 430 new trips to last year’s trips, raising the number of trips scheduled in the operational plan for this year to more than 3,800” from May 9 to June 25, while the numbers of trips on peak days will be 126, SPA said.
The Haramain High-Speed Railway train ranks among the 10 fastest electric trains globally. It reaches 300 km per hour, and operates a fleet of 35 trains, with a capacity of 417 seats per train. It functions based on an environment-friendly system and zero carbon emissions, and plays an important role in preserving roads’ infrastructure by reducing road traffic.


Islamic Ministry unites volunteers to serve pilgrims

Islamic Ministry unites volunteers to serve pilgrims
Updated 29 May 2024
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Islamic Ministry unites volunteers to serve pilgrims

Islamic Ministry unites volunteers to serve pilgrims
  • The initiative is part of the ministry’s ongoing efforts to promote a culture of volunteering within communities

MAKKAH: Almost 5,000 people are set to volunteer for programs launched by the Makkah arm of the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The branch has launched 247 opportunities via its volunteering platform to coincide with the start of the Hajj season. These include distributing more than 235,000 water bottles at 3,850 mosques, providing umbrellas to pilgrims for protection against the sun, distributing booklets and providing meals.

The initiative is part of the ministry’s ongoing efforts to promote a culture of volunteering within communities.

Earlier, the Presidency of Religious Affairs at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque launched its operational plan for Hajj, promoting voluntary and humanitarian work.

It recognizes the Two Holy Mosques as attractive environments for such efforts, based on religious and Saudi values that highlight the importance of generosity and hospitality.


Al-Jubeir meets US, Costa Rica officials in Riyadh

Al-Jubeir meets US, Costa Rica officials in Riyadh
Updated 29 May 2024
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Al-Jubeir meets US, Costa Rica officials in Riyadh

Al-Jubeir meets US, Costa Rica officials in Riyadh

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and climate envoy Adel Al-Jubeir met Robert Karem, national security adviser to US Senator Mitch McConnell, on Wednesday in Riyadh.

In a separate meeting, Al-Jubeir met Costa Rica’s non-resident ambassador to the Kingdom, Francisco Chacon Hernandez.

The talks in both meetings centered on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.