Experts call for undertaking new technology to promote Saudi dates

Experts call for undertaking new technology to promote Saudi dates
Updated 29 January 2016

Experts call for undertaking new technology to promote Saudi dates

Experts call for undertaking new technology to promote Saudi dates

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia ranks second in the world in the production of dates, with a total production of 1.122 million tons from almost 23 million palm trees, or about 17 percent of total global production. But the reality is that the country and its citizens did not benefit as desired of this global excellence.
Saudi dates reach 72 countries that have opened their markets to Saudi products, and could become the second exported product associated with the Kingdom’s name — after oil — due to a comprehensive national plan to promote the industry and maximize benefits to the country and its citizens.
Reaching this goal means strengthening leadership in the field of production, improving processing and marketing of dates and palm trees, as well as promoting investment opportunities, product development, and encouraging manufacturing and sub-industries in the field. Also key is improving the quality of date production to be commensurate with requirements of global markets.
To promote investment opportunities, organizing specialized exhibitions abroad to present varieties of Saudi dates could be given significant advantage and complement to high level government support, experts say. They have called for the establishment of an ozone association or body in the Kingdom to act as a scientific reference and research hub in the region in collaboration with the International Ozone Association.
Sami Al-Akoz, an ozone technology specialist, says the Kingdom’s accession to the International Ozone Association is an important step, and a big leap toward the use of the latest technology for the purpose of maintaining human health.
According to professor of Atmospheric Chemistry in the US, Matthew S. Johnson, says the ozone helps eliminate viruses and harmful bacteria by purifying the air, and food and other agricultural products. On prolonging the life of Saudi dates through the ozone, he said the ozone “preserves fruit quality for a period ranging from several months to a year, and purifies such fruits of insect eggs and larvae, either through evaporation in the field under plastic sheets or by storing dates in closed warehouses.”
Dr. Hassan Naqadi, director of medical services at King Abdulaziz International Airport and supervisor of the previous forum on ozone uses and applications at the airport, says he hopes the new technologies will also be put to use in purifying and sanitizing the air in airplanes and halls after successful trials, especially as research shows the ozone can eliminate germs and microbes.
“Studies and research show that ozone technology can prevent the spread of germs that carry contagious illnesses and cause major harm to people in closed and crowded areas,” said Naser Al-Atbi, a specialist in industrial engineering and a member of the International Ozone Association.
Experts, like Nikolai Burke, who holds a Ph.D. from Copenhagen University, say ozone sterilization has many uses beyond dates.
Burke says there is a need to invent new ideas for marketing Saudi dates, which are considered the finest in the world, as ozone will have a key role in protecting their qualities and limiting germs and microbes, thus allowing for wider exports to other countries.