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Cairo: A government festival celebrating the rich history and heritage of the Saudi coffee will kick off in the capital next week.

The September 28 - October 1 event, organised by the Saudi Culinary Arts Commission, a government agency, promises a rich experience for its visitors through a variety of activities showcasing the coffee industry in the country and its role over the years as a potent symbol of Saudi hospitality.

The festival-goers will be taken on a visual journey exploring the coffee bean cultivation until it becomes a tasty drink of various flavours.

Varieties of the Saudi coffee grown in different areas of the kingdom will be presented too.

The event, moreover, features the “Child’s Oasis”, a vibrant zone designed to suit children’s age group and includes corners for planting coffee beans, using them in painting, drawing coffee utensils, cupcake decorations and instant photography.

Coffee is closely linked to hospitality heritage in the Arabian Peninsula.

Saudi Arabia designated 2022 as the “Year of Saudi Coffee”, a national initiative celebrating Saudi coffee through a wide array of events and competitions. The Ministry of Culture has renamed Arabic coffee to Saudi coffee at all restaurants and cafes in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia plans to establish its first city for expanding the growth of coffee beans in Al Bahah in the kingdom’s south west, amid marked efforts to promote the national coffee drink. Last month, a financing contract was signed between the government Agricultural Development Fund and the Agricultural Society in Baljurashi governorate, part of the Al Bahah Province.

The SR72 million contract aims to provide 60 per cent of the overall cost of the project that aims to cultivate around 500,000 trees, set up a factory and provide transportation and an irrigation system. Al Baha is Saudi Arabia’s first producer of coffee beans.

In July, a Saudi company, a subsidiary of the kingdom’s investment arm, unveiled a plan to set up an academy for training in the coffee industry.

The academy, planned by the Saudi Coffee Company, aims to support the production of Saudi coffee and localise related industries as well as provide training opportunities in various relevant disciplines.

The academy will comprise branches in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam to support the coffee product, which is associated with the Saudi society’s culture and identity.