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Saudi unveils next-gen coffee farm as ambitions percolate

There are 400,000 coffee trees across Saudia Arabia, and 54,000 in the Jazan region alone Flickr/Richard Mortel
There are 400,000 coffee trees across Saudia Arabia, and 54,000 in the Jazan region alone
  • Saudi Coffee Company to act as template
  • 5m trees on site by 2030
  • Aim is 2,500 tonnes a year

Saudi Arabia has unveiled its first next-generation coffee farm in Jazan, home to the world-famous Coffea Arabica plant, as the kingdom looks to significantly increase production.

Saudi Coffee Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund, said the farm – spread across one million square metres – will act as a template for the future of the industry in the kingdom.

The company aims to grow five million coffee trees on the site by 2030. 

It will also carefully monitor its use of water, especially when levels are down during the dry season. 

Questions have been raised about the environmental impact of the Saudi coffee industry, with water scarcity and irrigation issues previously hindering the country’s wheat production ambitions.

Jazan has the highest proportion of the kingdom’s 600 coffee farms. There are 400,000 coffee trees across the country, and 54,000 in the province alone.

The launch of the model farm is a cornerstone of Saudi Coffee Company’s plans to boost production capacity this year from 300 to 2,500 metric tonnes annually. This is small on a global scale but considered impressive for a desert nation.

Brazil is the largest coffee producer in the world with an output of more than 2.6 million metric tonnes, ahead of Vietnam and Colombia.

“We have a strong legacy of coffee cultivation here in Jazan,” CEO Khalid AbuTheeb said.

Mohammed Zainy, marketing director, added: “The idea is to elevate the whole industry. Coffee is deeply rooted in our heritage. It’s the symbol for hospitality, for generosity. So for us, coffee is a cup of culture that can travel from the local farmer to the rest of the world.”

Food, Fruit, Plant Saudi Arabia named 2022 the year of coffee and has big plans for growthPexels/Leiliane Dutra
Full of beans: Saudi Arabia named 2022 the year of coffee and has big plans for growth
New model farm

Saudi Coffee Company was set up in 2022 to lead growth in the industry.

The new model farm will promote knowledge sharing on growing and grading methods to help farmers, while also supporting sustainable farming practices. It will feature a 1,835sq m nursery to boost the yield of seedlings.

Last month, the company announced the launch of its first coffee academy dedicated to training and investing in talent for cultivation, roasting, coffee shop management and entrepreneurship. 

In its first phase the academy will focus on farmers, with the aim of ensuring the adoption of the best agricultural practices.

A second phase will widen its scope, training more than 400 individuals annually in various aspects of the industry.

AbuTheeb described the academy launch as a “milestone” to elevate the local coffee industry to global standards.

National brand

In September, the company announced the launch of its bespoke coffee brand, Jazean, in a bid to put local farmers on the map and give them a platform to contribute to a national brand.

Saudi Arabia named 2022 the year of Saudi coffee and the iconic Khawlani coffee bean was used as part of the kingdom’s ongoing tourism push.

Figures from business intelligence platform CoffeeBi show 9,000 tonnes of coffee was produced in 2020 compared to 50,000 at its peak.

According to S&P Global, coffee is commercially produced in more than 50 countries and the world drinks more than three billion cups a day. The annual revenue of the global coffee industry is estimated to exceed $200 billion. 

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