Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia produces an estimated 1.5 million tonnes of dates annually. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Saudi Arabia has been ranked first globally in the value of dates exports in 2021 according to the TradeMap of the International Trade Centre with the value of exports in 2021 exceeding SR1.2 billion.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the increase in the value of exports went up by 110 per cent since 2016, where the Kingdom gained the highest annual increase in date exports of 13% over the past five years.

Fresh and dried dates accounted for 77 per cent of the total exports to 113 countries.

The value of palms and dates in the Kingdom reached nearly SR7.5 billion, 12 per cent of the agricultural gross product and 0.4 of the non-oil gross product.

The number of palm trees reached 33 million, representing 27 per cent of the total number of palm trees in the world. The kingdom has contributed to supporting the palms and dates sector at the international level through several initiatives in coordination with UN organisations.

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture and National Center for Palms and Dates managed to prepare and implement initiatives, workshops and permanent programmes through an executive strategy for these initiatives in a final way, such as registering dates as a super fruit at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 2019, where FAO endorsed 2017 as the international year of dates. Additionally, coordination is now ongoing with FAO to announce the world day of dates.