The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Council during its 165th session held from November 30 - December 4, 2020 has approved the recommendation of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) at its 27th session in Rome, which included the request of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to establish an International Year of Dates in 2027. As this comes in preparation for submitting the recommendation to the United Nations General Assembly’s upcoming session for final approval.
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom Saudi Arabia to FAO Dr. Muhammad Al-Ghamdi participated in the FAO Council and delivered the Kingdom’s statement regarding the approval of the International Year project.
During the work of COAG that was held in September 2020, the action plan was approved to establish an international year of dates at the request of Saudi Arabia and it will be presented to the United Nations in New York to receive the final approval.
The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA) said that this significant step came after numerous discussion meetings between the ministry and FAO officials on the economic and social importance of dates for countries and societies.
FAO's Council has stated that establishing an International Year of dates contributes to raising awareness on sustainable agriculture of date palms under various climatic conditions due to its wide genetic diversity and its ability to adapt to a wide range of production environments and market demands. It also stressed the urgent need to raise awareness of the economic benefits of dates.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the most important dates producing countries, making up 17% of the total world production. Saudi Arabia produces more than 1.5 million tons of dates annually, while the number of palm trees in the Kingdom is about 31 million.
MEWA and the National Center for Palms and Dates are working to facilitate export procedures and open marketing sales outlets worldwide to export Saudi dates to all countries of the world, contributing to Vision 2030 via increasing Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports. This contributed to raising the value of Saudi dates exports to 8.5% during the first half of 2020, to reach SAR 549 million.
The ministry aims to increase the volume of Saudi dates exports to achieve 80% of the target, reaching 200,000 tons by the end of 2020. It also aims to rank 1st worldwide in exporting dates during 2021, by increasing the percentage of exports by 12% annually.