Saudi Minister: Annual Date Exports Valued at $2.3 Billion Worldwide
Saudi Arabia's Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture, Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, announced that the worldwide date export market is valued at $2.3 billion annually.
The kingdom boasts over 200 million palm trees across 1.5 million hectares, yielding 9.7 million tons of dates. These exports are primarily to 40 countries, mainly in the Middle East and North Africa.
During an International Dates Council meeting in Riyadh, Al-Fadhli stated that the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization has accepted Saudi Arabia's initiative to celebrate 2027 as the International Year of Date Palm. He emphasized the versatility of dates and palms, including their use in food, medicine, cosmetics, and construction, and their role in food security, sustainable agriculture, and job creation in rural areas.
However, Al-Fadhli also addressed the challenges faced by the date industry, such as climate change, disease, pest infestation, low global consumption rates (150 grams per person), significant post-harvest waste, market competition, and the need for better diversification, quality improvement, and marketing strategies.
The International Dates Council, established in 2011 with subsequent meetings in 2013 and 2019, operates on a biennial budget of $4 million. The upcoming International Year of Date Palm aims to highlight the sector's significance in sustainable agricultural development and food security.