Saudi Coffee: Optimal investment in promising sector with 400,000 trees enhancing local production chains

Thursday 1444/9/8 - 2023/03/30
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Riyadh, March 30, 2023, SPA -- Coffee cultivation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia witnesses remarkable growth, in line with plans aimed at developing crops with competitive advantage, exploiting renewable water resources, and subsidizing crops with high economic returns, including coffee beans or the so-called “green gold”.
This is part of efforts towards that effect, among which was the designation of 2022 as “The Year of Saudi Coffee” and the Saudi Cabinet’s approval of the Kingdom’s accession to the International Coffee Agreement.
In light of the high per capita coffee consumption rate, with more than 80,000 tonnes consumed annually, the Kingdom ranks among the top 10 countries worldwide in terms of consumption. The Saudi market imports approximately 70,000-90,000 tonnes of coffee every year, Saudis spend more than SR 1 billion on coffee, which is a great incentive to increase the cultivation of coffee. The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA) is working to achieve self-sufficiency in future domestic production and increase contribution of non-oil products to the GDP.
In this context, MEWA intensifies efforts to develop the agricultural sector and expand coffee production on agricultural terraces by establishing 60 model coffee farms, to enhance food security in rural areas, boost agricultural production, and utilize the abundant renewable water resources, all with the purpose of achieving the best profitable returns for farmers.
According to recent studies, the Kingdom witnessed about 4% annual growth of coffee consumption from 2016 through 2021. The studies also indicate that the sector is expected to grow by 5% over the coming years, to reach 28,700 tonnes by the end of 2026, which provides and creates attractive investment opportunities in the sector.
Hence, the ministry plans to make 13 governorates in the southwestern part of the Kingdom important producers of coffee, especially the Khawlani coffee – which is distinguished by its quality – and raise the amount of coffee production in the Kingdom in support of the national economy, in accordance with Vision 2030 goals.
According to the latest figures, the local production of Arabic coffee in the mountainous region, in the Jazan, Al-Bahah and Asir provinces, has reached 1,810 tonnes annually, about 350 tonnes of pure coffee after hulling; this production is grown on 2,535 coffee farms that have some 400,000 coffee trees.
In the Jazan Province, in the mountainous governorates of Al-Dai’yer, Fayfa, Al-Aidabi, Haroub, Al-Raith, and Al-Ardah, more than 1,985 farms containing 340,000 coffee trees produce about 1,320 tonnes annually, and 785 tonnes of pure coffee after hulling; the area hosts an annual festival to market its products.
The coffee farms in the mountainous governorates of the Asir Province come second, with more than 300 farms comprising 40,000 trees that produce 200 tonnes of coffee, or 100 tonnes of pure coffee after hulling, and Al-Bahah Province coffee farms come third, with 250 coffee farms containing 18,000 coffee trees producing 40 tonnes of coffee, or 20 tonnes of pure coffee after hulling.
Within its efforts to develop the coffee sector in the Kingdom, MEWA established a Coffee Research Unit in the Agriculture Research Centre of Jazan Province, to provide guidance to coffee farmers and identify the major obstacles facing the cultivation of coffee.
The unit provides integrated solutions and information to develop the product, by organizing scientific seminars on the coffee industry, including on cultivation methods, and on the water and fertilizers needed to produce a high-quality product.
Moreover, an agreement was signed in 2018 between the Kingdom and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for cost-refundable technical assistance to improve the coffee strain.
MEWA has provided support to enhance production of coffee in the provinces of Jazan, Al-Bahah and Asir, and has launched the Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Programme (REEF), making coffee cultivation on large scale one of its major objectives.
Moreover, the ministry has supported 30,000 farmers with non-refundable subsidies; the Saudi REEF programme supports the Kingdom’s cultivation of Arabic coffee in particular and the coffee sector in general through nine initiatives.
13:51 LOCAL TIME 10:51 GMT