Mango crop flourishes in Saudi Arabia's western region

The Kingdom is known for growing mango in many cities in the southern region such as Jazan city, where the soil is more likely to be fertile than other regions due to heavy rains. (Supplied)
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Updated 10 June 2021

Mango crop flourishes in Saudi Arabia's western region

  • Ministry promotes organic agriculture by supporting farmers to produce safe food

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s western province is best known for its high humidity and hot weather from its proximity to the Red Sea coast, which helps to grow an array of delicious tropical fruits, including mango.
The Kingdom is known for growing mango in many cities in the southern region such as Jazan city, where the soil is more likely to be fertile than other regions due to heavy rains. However, this fruit found its way to being grown in vast orchards in western and northern regions of the Kingdom, including Qunfudhah and Umluj city.
With more than 400,000 mango trees in Qunfudhah, the city crop is ranked second in terms of significance in the Kingdom after Jazan.

FASTFACTS

• Qunfudhah mango production has reached 40,000 tons per year.

• The number of mango farms in Qunfudhah exceeds 2,700.

There are more than 2,700 mango farms in the Qunfudhah governorate, and the annual yield exceeds 40,000 tons. The crop season begins in May and lasts for three months.
Saeed bin Jarallah, director general of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture’s Makkah branch, said: “Our branch is working to spread quality and economically feasible crops among farmers, by reinforcing its efforts to support agricultural festivals in the region for produce such as mango, rose and honey.”

He added: “The ministry is working to support the cultivation of mango and tropical fruits by providing technical support to farmers in the region.
“It is working to bring tropical fruits specialists from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and many universities which will contribute greatly to the development of mango production and cultivation.”
Mango cultivation began in Qunfudhah 50 years ago, and 10 mango festivals have been held in the governorate since 2010. These festivals are held to support farmers in marketing their products, introducing them to visitors from around the Kingdom, and encouraging them to develop and grow.
Ali Al-Abdali, mango farmer and owner of Al-Jawaher mango farms in Qunfudhah, has 12 years of experience in the field.
He told Arab News: “Traditional agriculture, such as growing grains and vegetables, was a source of living for my ancestors. However, after the government development in the agricultural sector and the spread of awareness programs, we got to know that this fruit and weather conditions of our region are considered ideal for tropical fruits, especially mangoes.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Mango festival has been held in Qunfudhah since 2010.

• The main factors for growing mangoes are good watering, high humidity, and hot weather.

• Mango trees in the Kingdom are considered a great natural destination for visitors and tourists.

Al-Jawaher mango farms include over 30,000 mango trees on 3,200,000 square meters of farmland in Al-Ahsa Valley.
The farmer said that the abundance of desalinated water, the quality of soil, the weather, and constant attention and follow-up are the main factors affecting the cultivation and production of mangoes.
According to Saudi Vision 2030, the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture is furthering organic agriculture by supporting organic farmers to produce safe, high-quality food, which will preserve the environment and natural resources.
“Our farms have been officially registered in the organic transformation program and we are now under the supervision of a specialized company in organic transformation that has been nominated by the ministry to supervise our farm,” said Al-Abdali. “Now, we will be reaching the stage of being a fully organic production during the upcoming period.”
Some of the mangoes are fully green with different bright colors ranging from golden yellow and reddish to orange blush. The farm produces 60 tons of mango crop per year of different types, including Hindi, Jalan, Tomi Atkins, and the sensation mango. These types come with a strong aromatic mango scent, a sweet taste and smooth pulp.
Products of Al-Jawaher farm are witnessing a “huge success” he said, as it is being distributed domestically in large cities such as Riyadh, Jeddah, Qassim, Makkah, Taif, Hail and Madinah, and can be found in many fruits and grocery shops in these cities.
 

Mango trees in Umluj
Arab News visited one of the most famous mango farms in Umluj, Muhammadiah farm, owned by Marwan Al-Juhani and his brother Nawaf, who said that they inherited mango growing from their grandfather.
“We still have the very first mango tree on this farm that was planted by my grandfather over 65 years ago,” Al-Juhani told Arab News, noting that each mango tree has to be at least four years old to start to produce crops, and the older it gets the better crop it gives.
Al-Juhani’s farm is only 10 minutes away from the Red Sea shores of Umluj city. Throughout the years, the farm has become a popular destination for visitors and tourists, who enjoy having a walk through the trees, picking mangoes and eating them on site.
With good watering crucial to mango growing, Al-Juhani has an artesian well to support watering their trees throughout the year. His farm has over 400 mango trees and they have participated in several previous mango festivals.


Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone targeting southern Saudi Arabia

Updated 19 June 2021

Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone targeting southern Saudi Arabia

  • Iran-backed Houthi militia have consistently launched attacks against the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Arab coalition said it had intercepted a Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia’s Khamis Mushait, Al Ekhbariya TV reported early Saturday.
The coalition, which is fighting to restore the legitimacy of the internationally recognized government in Yemen, said it will take all measures to protect civilians in accordance with international law.
The Iran-backed Houthi militia have consistently launched attacks against the Kingdom.


Experts predict growing number of ‘digital pilgrims’ as COVID-19 pandemic persists

Updated 19 June 2021

Experts predict growing number of ‘digital pilgrims’ as COVID-19 pandemic persists

Experts predict growing number of 'digital pilgrims' as COVID-19 pandemic persists

JEDDAH: The growing role of digitization in media, advertising and services was the focus of a dialogue session held on Friday as part of the Makkah Region Digital Projects Exhibition.

Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat, Saudi deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah; Esam Al-Wagait, director of Saudi Arabia’s National Information Center; and Tony Chan, president of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, were among speakers during the session.

Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, governor of Makkah, also attended the session.

Mashat said that this year’s Hajj will witness a qualitative leap in the use of smart cards, with pilgrims’ journeys digitized from start to finish.

So far more than 450,000 requests have made through the electronic portal launched a few days ago, he said.

Saudi Arabia’s communications commission has worked to serve the pilgrims through digital systems before their arrival in the Kingdom.

Mashat said that the Ministry of Hajj is using smart cards and surveillance cameras to serve pilgrims, while artificial intelligence will increase surveillance camera efficiency and enhance security operations.

Chan said that the digital revolution will lead the economy and contribute to the operation of smart cities.

To achieve this, digital infrastructure must be flexible, secure and focused on people since sustainability is a necessity for future smart cities, he added.

 

 

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Who’s Who: Ahmad Ghazi Darwish, chief administrative officer at The Red Sea Development Co. and Amaala

Updated 18 June 2021

Who’s Who: Ahmad Ghazi Darwish, chief administrative officer at The Red Sea Development Co. and Amaala

Ahmad Ghazi Darwish is the chief administrative officer at The Red Sea Development Co. (TRSDC) and Amaala.

He joined the Red Sea project in November 2016 as executive director of PMO. He worked on achieving approval of the project vision and strategy, interfacing with the board, incorporating the company, deploying key executive positions, administrating the master plan competition and obtaining approval of the concept master plan.

Darwish became chief of staff to the CEO in April 2018. In this role, he was responsible for TRSDC’s corporate services, human resources, government and external affairs, special projects and social development, corporate performance, EPMO, smart destination, strategy and cybersecurity functions.

He fulfilled these tasks by providing guidance and support, and cultivating relationships, whether external and internal, ensuring the alignment of efforts across the company through efficient business objectives.

In December 2020, he was promoted to chief administrative officer to reflect his broadened role, following three years in the role of chief of staff.

Darwish is the official Arabic spokesperson for TRSDC with the Saudi national media and has conducted several media interviews and gatherings.

Before joining TRSDC, Darwish served 20 years with Saudi Aramco, where he managed multiple projects in information technology and additional projects with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), including the infrastructure project of KAUST’s Research and Technology Park, and the Aramco research center at KAUST. He is a certified member of the Project Management Institute and the Saudi Council of Engineers, and holds a BSc in electric engineering from the University of Portland, US, and an MSc in electronic and electrical engineering from the University of Glasgow, UK.


Saudi Arabia announces 15 more COVID-19 deaths

Updated 18 June 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 15 more COVID-19 deaths

  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 453,259
  • A total of 7,650 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 15 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,236 new infections on Friday.
Of the new cases, 372 were recorded in Makkah, 240 in Riyadh, 213 in the Eastern Province, 115 in Asir, 89 in Jazan, 65 in Madinah, 24 in Najran, 21 in Al-Baha, 18 in Hail, 18 in Tabuk, nine in the Northern Borders region, and four in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 453,259 after 1,050 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 7,650 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 16.3 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Hajj won't be allowed without smart card, official permit — ministry

Updated 18 June 2021

Hajj won't be allowed without smart card, official permit — ministry

JEDDAH: In an effort to ensure compliance with coronavirus (COVID-19) safety measures, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah confirmed that no one will be allowed to perform Hajj without a smart card and a documented official permit.

Dr. Abdulfattah Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, said that the permit will be matched with the electronic card and the pilgrim’s ID, noting that there is no platform to apply for Hajj except the official website of the ministry.

“Any company that offers service packages outside the ministry’s platform is violating the system,” he said. 

“At the first stages of the ‘Eatmarna’ application, we noticed some violations by some entities and individuals, but with the passage of time, community awareness began to increase.”

Mashat said this year’s Hajj will use permits through the “Absher” platform only. Information for those who purchased their Hajj packages on the ministry’s platform will be linked to Absher and their ID.

According to the deputy minister, more than 470,000 applications have been received as of Wednesday at 5 p.m. as all met the conditions of immunization and have never performed Hajj before.

FASTFACT

470K

More than 470,000 applications have been received as of Wednesday at 5 p.m. as all met the conditions of immunization and have never performed Hajj before.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah called on all domestic pilgrims connected with the ministry to adhere to health instructions to enable those wishing to perform Hajj.

The ministry said resident locations will apply visual and thermal screening procedures upon pilgrims’ entrance and movement.

The allocated hotels in Makkah and Madinah must conform to the requirements listed by the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, and other bodies concerned with monitoring the accommodation of pilgrims.

The hotels must take into account the application of precautionary measures to prevent crowding inside rooms. The hotels also have to provide catering services for each pilgrim in his room as open buffets are banned.

A health guide (or health leader) from the concerned authority will be available during the pilgrims’ presence in the Hajj areas and during their movements.

This step comes to ensure the preventive measures. Pilgrims must consult a doctor if they suspect COVID-19 symptoms to ensure his safety and the safety of others.

Regarding the procedures in the holy sites, the Two Holy Mosques, and the central area in Makkah and Madinah, social distancing will be enforced throughout the grouping of pilgrims in all Hajj stages. This is in accordance with health requirements in residential buildings and tents. Pilgrims’ bags and baggage carts will be disinfected periodically.

Security guards will facilitate the exit of pilgrims from holy sites according to the time allotted to them and will ensure adherence to the number of pilgrims allowed in one space (no more than 50 people). Seat numbers on buses will be assigned to each pilgrim during the entire Hajj trip and standing inside busses will not be allowed. There will be an empty seat assigned between each pilgrim and carrying personal carry-on baggage will be prohibited.

In the case that a passenger suspects COVID-19 symptoms, the bus will be stopped and disinfected.

The ministries of health and hajj announced Saturday that a total of 60,000 pilgrims will be allowed to perform the pilgrimage this year, which will begin mid-July.