- Title: Date sellers flock to Saudi's Buraidah for annual fesitval
- Date: 22nd August 2017
- Summary: BURAIDAH, SAUDI ARABIA (AUGUST 19, 2017) (REUTERS) CRESCENT MOON IN SKY PEOPLE WALKING AMID TRUCKS AT FESTIVAL BUNTING AND DATE FESTIVAL SIGN
- Embargoed: 5th September 2017 12:49
- Keywords: Buraidah date festival dates season Saudi Arabia dates date auction
- Location: BURAIDAH, SAUDI ARABIA
- City: BURAIDAH, SAUDI ARABIA
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Topics: Commodities Markets,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA0086V8KQQD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The annual date festival in the Saudi city of Buraidah, which has been operating for more than 60 years, is one of the largest and most prestigious in the world.
For 75 days during the harvest season, vendors from across the country brave the summer heat to sell dozens of varieties of dates, with daily sales exceeding 25 million riyals, according to festival organisers.
Thousands of vehicles travel to Buraidah daily to sell dates.
"We own a fantastic product. There is no doubt that we work hard to market, produce and obtain the greatest possible monetary return. So we miss this season and all the opportunities it offers," said one date seller, Naser Al Ammar.
People flock from neighbouring countries and even further afield to bid on the dates in an auction-style market.
"I came from the United Arab Emirates, from Abu Dhabi. The goal was first to see all the different types of dates. Secondly, to take back some dates whose type and quality we don't have at home and ship them to the Emirates," said Mohammed Al Hamli, a visitor from the UAE.
Sukkari is the most popular date among dozens of varieties being sold at the market. Good quality white and red Sukkari dates are sold from 20 riyals for a box weighing 3.5 kg, with prices rising to 200 riyals per box depending on quality.
"At the Buraidah festival there are more than 35 varieties of dates. The most famous one is sukkari, which also has several types. There are dry dates, there are curved, there are yellow and red," said date buyer Moammed Al Meshaity.
More than 500 Saudi young people take part in trades on a fast-selling exchange that runs for three hours in the morning and continues later in the evening.
"Now we are nearing the middle of the season. We have brought in 850 million (riyals) but until now we have not reached our typical target which is 2 billion. Sales last year were almost 1.5 billion. God willing this year it will be 2 billion." said the executive director of the festival supervising committee, Dr. Ibrahim Al Abdulrazaq.
Small businesses ranging from marketing to transportation and about 3,500 jobs are estimated to rely on trades at the market, according to the festival organisers.
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