The National Center for Palms and Dates has revealed that Saudi date exports in 2022 rose by 5.4 percent on the previous year.
Figures for the past three years showed the sector exported SR927 million ($247 million) worth of dates in 2020, SR1.21 billion in 2021, and SR1.28 billion last year.
The center attributed new working systems and cultivation methods brought in under Vision 2030 initiatives for helping to improve palm production, while programs to develop the sector and its sustainability had raised its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product.
Saudi dates were now sold in 116 countries, with the Kingdom’s 33 million palm trees representing 27 percent of the world’s total. The country produces 1.54 million tons of dates annually through more than 123,000 agricultural holdings in 13 regions, exporting in excess of 300 varieties to markets including the US, Europe, East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa region, and Gulf states.
The most popular types of dates in the Kingdom are majdool, khudari, khlas, sukkari, shishi, safawi, sufri, sagee, ajwa, barhi, and anbara.
The Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture’s palm trees and dates sector is now supported internationally after the Kingdom succeeded in registering dates as an unusual fruit with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
The FAO has also approved Saudi Arabia’s proposal to declare 2027 the International Year of Dates.
The ministry’s palm and date germplasm bank has been listed in Guinness World Records for the largest number of palm varieties, with 127 national types.