Saudi Arabia now cultivates blackberries and raspberries domestically


In the Saudi Arabian market, the demand for blackberries and raspberries has surged, compelling growers to tackle the challenge of cultivating these berries domestically. Dr. Muhammad Zohaib Anjum, the production manager at AlFahhad Farms, is at the forefront of pioneering berry production within the country.

Previously, Saudi Arabia heavily relied on importing blackberries and raspberries from the USA and Europe to meet market demands. However, local production faced limitations due to the unsuitability of selective varieties for the country’s hot environmental conditions and soil type. Nevertheless, AlFahhad Farms, a project of Ahmed Bin Sulaiman Alfahhad Endowments under the guidance of Eng. Saleh Altuwayjiri, embraced the challenge and successfully addressed these issues.

The venture displays promising prospects for commercial success. Dr. Anjum highlighted the significant cost disparity between imported and locally produced berries. While imported berries were expensive, costing SAR 20 for a 100g pack, local berries offered a more budget-friendly option at SAR 13 per pack of the same size (1 SAR = 0.24 EUR). However, the enigma of producing berries in Saudi Arabia’s harsh climate persisted among many.

Dr. Anjum unveiled that agricultural technology played a pivotal role in enabling berry production in the region. Despite the extreme heat and sandy soil, AlFahhad Farms adopted innovative practices, including a drip irrigation system, to successfully grow blackberries and raspberries under semi-controlled environmental conditions.

A key strategy involved utilizing soil as a growing medium, effectively reducing production costs. To identify suitable varieties, the farm experimented with imported blackberry and raspberry varieties from the Netherlands, ultimately selecting “Autumn Bliss” for raspberries and “Thornless Evergreen” and “Black Satin” for blackberries due to their excellent growth and high yields.

While AlFahhad Farms has achieved notable success, the primary focus remains on meeting the escalating local demand. Their current local berry production project spans 5,000 square meters of greenhouses, primarily catering to consumers in the AlQassim region. However, the company harbors ambitious plans for future expansion to bridge the supply-demand gap in the Saudi Arabian market.



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