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Bids open for Saudi ‘coffee city’ in production drive

Garden, Nature, Outdoors Alamy via Reuters
The 5.5km area set aside for coffee bush planting is in Saudi Arabia's mountainous Al-Qalwah governorate
  • 5.5km set aside for new planting
  • Aim is to be major coffee grower
  • Coffee exports worth $8.54m

Saudi Arabia has opened bids for coffee producers to acquire lots in an area of the southwestern Al-Baha region that is intended to be the country’s first “coffee city”.

The country aims to become a major coffee producer alongside the likes of Brazil. 

The area set aside for coffee bush planting is in the mountainous Al-Qalwah governorate and covers 5.5 square kilometres. The Saudi ministry of environment, water and agriculture said it planned to increase the number of coffee trees there to at least 300,000.

Interested parties have until September 9 to submit bids through the ministry’s online Furas platform.  

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has a subsidiary called the Saudi Coffee Company, which launched a brand last year called Jazean. 

The company has begun production in Jazan, south of Al-Baha, with plans to invest SAR1 billion ($270 million) over the next decade. 

Saudi Arabia has around 400,000 coffee trees, most of them in the southwestern provinces, which have a temperate climate good for growing coffee. 

It is still a minor exporter – in 2022, its coffee exports to Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, the US and Bahrain were worth $8.54 million, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity.

Annual production volume has risen from 800 tonnes in 2020 to almost 1,500 tonnes in 2023.

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. 

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