SABIC signs agreement to support Saudi dates sector
Petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) has signed an agreement with the National Center for Palms and Dates (NCPD) to initiate a “Palm Tree of the Homeland” program (Nakhlat Watan), it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The program will support the cultivation of date palms through sustainable and innovative agriculture methods, boost Saudi Arabia’s strategy of becoming the world’s top dates exporter, and enable Saudi Vision 2030.
A number of objectives are expected to be achieved through the agreement, most importantly advancing innovation in the field of palms and dates, creating awareness on environment protection, and increasing green areas to achieve sustainable development.
“The aim of Nakhlat Watan is to promote the dates sector, not only because it is a symbol of national productivity, but also due to its economic importance and the role it plays in enhancing the Kingdom’s food security,” Yousef Al-Benyan, SABIC vice chairman and CEO, commented.
The agreement also stipulates supporting scientific research in the palms and dates sector and tapping international expertise to improve the agricultural sector. It also seeks to enhance the quality of dates by establishing standards for the local market that would help increase date exports to new global markets.
To help achieve its objectives, the program will adopt two main approaches. The first is to establish specialized entities to serve the dates and palms sector. These entities will provide pre-harvest services to improve agricultural practices in small and medium farms.
Sub-centers will also be established as needed to provide collection, packaging, marketing, refrigerated transportation, and other post-harvest services.
The second approach focuses on introducing new programs to promote and improve growth in several areas, particularly supply chain and human resources, and boost the status of the palm tree as a national symbol.
The agreement is complementary to an earlier memorandum of understanding signed a year ago to enhance cooperation between the two parties in improving the sector through leveraging specialized studies on the subject.