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$16m pumped into coffee farms as Riyadh chases lofty target

A coffee farmer in Addayer, Jazan. The southwest Saudi province has 54,000 coffee trees Eric Lafforgue/Alamy via Reuters
A coffee farmer in Addayer, Jazan. The southwest Saudi province has 54,000 coffee trees
  • 80% off production goal for 2026
  • 3,700 rural producers funded
  • Target is 7,000 tons a year

Saudi Arabia has invested millions of dollars in the development of the local coffee sector over the past four years, but it is still 80 percent off its production target for 2026.

The Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program (known as Reef Saudi) has allocated a total of SAR61 million ($16 million) to support over 3,700 beneficiaries since it was launched in 2020. 

Although the annual production volume has risen from 800 tons in 2020 to almost 1,500 tons in 2023, Reef Saudi’s goal “is to achieve 7,000 tons of coffee production annually by 2026”, the state-owned Saudi Press Agency said this week. 

The programme “strives to increase producer income and improve overall livelihoods in rural areas”, the agency report said.

Several other initiatives designed to promote the kingdom’s coffee sector have been launched.

Last November Saudi Coffee Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund, set up its first next-generation coffee farm in Jazan, home to the Coffea arabica plant.

The company, which was set up in 2022, aims to grow 5 million coffee trees on the site by 2030. It plans to invest more than SAR1 billion in the local coffee sector over the next decade.

CEO Khalid Abu Theab told Argaam in December 2023 that the company aims to open a coffee roasting and packaging factory in Jazan in the fourth quarter of this year. This facility is set to have an annual production capacity of up to 26,000 tons.

Saudi Arabia also declared 2022 the “year of Saudi coffee” and government officials visited New York, London, Rome and Paris as part of a marketing campaign.

Tourism officials are also pushing the kingdom’s coffee heritage, which has flourished for several centuries, especially in Jazan.

The southwestern province is home to the highest proportion of the kingdom’s 600 coffee farms. There are 400,000 coffee trees across the country, with 54,000 of the total in Jazan.

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