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Qassim hosts world’s largest date market

Customers browse from vehicles with dates laid out for sale during the Festival of Dates in Buraidah, capital of Qassim.

By Muhammad Al-Harb / 16 Aug 2013

Buraidah’s date season started and the air in the area designated for the city’s annual date market was filled with auctioneers’ calls to mark the start of the biggest agricultural economic activity in the world.

The projected Date City opened its doors and started receiving thousands of kilograms of dates since last Monday. The 75-day market offers over 45 kinds of dates. These will be sold the traditional way by marketing each day’s shipment from date farms. Dates are usually packed in special boxes that have defined weights to prevent fraud. However, sukkari dates account for 80 percent of the region’s production.

Qassim Mayor and the festival’s supervisor general Saleh Al-Ahmad said the municipality has prepared the Date City project to receive this important event.

Al-Ahmad expected this seasonal business to create more than 3,000 job opportunities for Saudis.

Farmers said this is their best season in terms of quality. “The harvest is outstanding this year and farmers will achieve good profits,” said Ali Al-Rashed, a major date farmer. He estimated there is an increase of 20 percent in the number of fruit-bearing palm trees every year in the region.

Sultan Al-Thunayyan, chairman of Qassim’s Dates Committee, said farmers achieved good profits in recent years compared to the period a few years ago before developing date festivals. “Sukkari is the prevailing date type in Qassim, and is considered to be one of the most important dates in the area,” he added.

Al-Thunayyan expected this date season to achieve high returns for farmers because of an increased quality of production that is the result of farmers’ recent implementation of corrected cultivation practices.

The date season is launched in mid August every year in a harvest celebration that farmers started practicing 50 years ago when they sold their yield in Al-Jardah market.

The municipality established a project that is called Date City to offer services for merchants and farmers, in addition to establishing special locations for trade activities that are connected to date production.


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