Saudi Arabia’s Al-Jouf International Olive Festival aims to support local farmers

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Desk Reporter
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Olive Festival
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More than 45 farmers are taking part in the 14th edition of the Al-Jouf International Olive Festival, which is now taking place at the Prince Abdul-Ilah Civilization Center in Sakaka.

Al-Jouf Olive Festival is the largest event in the Gulf region and is a real marketing window to display and sell the products of olive oil and table olive derivatives of different types and methods, which are produced by more than 18 million trees in Al-Jouf.

The festival serves as a link between producers and customers, providing local farmers with an opportunity to market their olive fruits, oil, and derivatives.

According to the farmers, “the annual fair has achieved outstanding success over the past 13 years and has turned into an economic and agricultural event, attracting large numbers of visitors from Al-Jouf and other regions that enable them to sell their olive oil products.” They further noted the importance of the Al-Jouf Governor’s Award for the best olive oil product in creating competition among farmers, and this will also help in upgrading the quality of the products.

As per the Olive Research Center at Al-Jouf University, Al-Jouf farms produced 11,000 tones of olive oil in the previous season, a progressive increase in recent years, produced from 18 million olive trees, making it Saudi Arabia’s most productive tree after the palm.

Dr. Bassam bin Faris Al-Aweesh, the center’s director, attributed the increase in production to “farmers and companies’ tendency to replace many crops with olives after their economic feasibility has been proven, as well as the adoption of the condensed cultivation method rather than the traditional method, where 1,600 trees are planted per hectare instead of 200 trees according to the traditional method.”

Furthermore, Dr. Al-Aweesh has remarked that planting olive trees are a strategic option in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 objectives of achieving food sufficiency and a national economic tributary stimulating investment, as well as its environmental impact on increasing vegetation cover, improving climate, and resisting desertification.

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