- Title: Traders bid for sweetest dates at Saudi festival
- Date: 11th August 2021
- Summary: UNAIZAH, SAUDI ARABIA (AUGUST 9, 2021) (REUTERS) PEOPLE GATHERED AT ANNUAL UNAIZAH DATES FESTIVAL VARIOUS OF PEOPLE GATHERING AROUND DATE CARTS MAN TOSSING DATES MAN WRITING DOWN DETAILS FROM RECEIPT AUCTIONEER, ABDULAZIZ AL FALWA, RECEIVING AND ANNOUNCING BIDS FROM BUYERS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) AUCTIONEER, ABDULAZIZ AL FALWA, SAYING: "The dates season for 2020-2021 and every year sees visitors from all over the Gulf and from outside the region. Thank God, the market has been popular for many years now, and is in continuous development." FALWA CONDUCTING AUCTION BUYERS INSPECTING DATES MORE OF FALWA CONDUCTING AUCTION (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) AUCTIONEER, ABDULAZIZ AL FALWA, SAYING: "The prices of the dates vary of course from five riyals ($1.33) for three kilos to 600 or 700 riyals ($160 to $187), depending on the quality. Here we have people that can assess the dates with one look, they have a special skill for that, and they put in a higher bid on it. Last year we sold one box for 950 (riyals) ($253)." VARIOUS OF WORKERS LOADING TRUCK WITH DATES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNAIZAH DATES FESTIVAL HEAD OF EXPORTS, ABDELRAHMAN MOHAMMED AL-QUDEIRI, SAYING: "In this place specifically, dates are gathered, packed and prepared and are then sent through these cars or trailers or refrigerators to areas neighbouring the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia like Gulf countries, Jordan, or Egypt." VARIOUS OF MEN LOADING BOXES OF DATES IN TRUCK (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNAIZAH DATES FESTIVAL HEAD OF EXPORTS, ABDELRAHMAN MOHAMMED AL-QUDEIRI, SAYING: "Last year we exported to 50 countries, and for this year, we hope to surpass the high number, to reach 60 countries in this season. The Unaizah dates festival is targeted by a lot of countries that are keen on having products like these golden dates." GROVE OF PALM TREES VARIOUS OF MAN CLIMBING PALM TREE AND PICKING DATES MAN WALKING IN MAN-MADE STREAM REMOVING DRY PALM LEAVES MAN CLEARING UP WATER IRRIGATION SYSTEM WATER FLOWING FROM PIPE VARIOUS OF MAN PICKING DATES FROM TREE
- Embargoed: 25th August 2021 14:01
- Keywords: Dates Egypt Jordan Saudi Arabia export festival market
- Location: UNAIZAH, SAUDI ARABIA
- City: UNAIZAH, SAUDI ARABIA
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Economic Events,Middle East
- Reuters ID: LVA001EPU6NV9
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: At dawn in Unaizah, the golden-brown dates - the stars of the festival - arrive at the marketplace to the sound of a town crier announcing trading open.
Farmers, traders and consumers wend their way through piles of the fruit stacked on metal carts at the annual seasonal market, where 280,000 kilograms of dates are sold per day.
The festival, which organizers say is one of the largest in the world, is held at the town in the central Qassim region, one of the most conservative parts of the country.
Besides being the world's top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is also a leading producer of dates and the area around Unaizah is known for its swathes of date palm trees.
The Qassim region is known in particular for its Sukkari dates, which auctioneer Abdulaziz al Falwa says can vary in price from 5 riyals ($1.33) for 3kg to up to 700 riyals ($187), depending on the quality.
Falwa is one of dozens of auctioneers selling the highly prized dates that are later exported worldwide.
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, last year's festival had no international visitors but still exported to around 50 countries.
"For this year, we hope to surpass the high number, to reach 60 countries," said Abdelrahman Mohammed al-Qudeiri, the festival's head of exports, who estimated they'll export 20,000 tons this year.
Saudi Arabia has more than 30 million palm trees that produce 1.4 million tons of dates annually, according to the National Centre for Palms and Dates (NCPD).
(Production: Ahmed Yosri, Imad Creidi, Raya Jalabi, Nuha Sharaf)
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