Saudi export ban creates openings

The international marketing magazine for fresh produce buyers in Europe
Tom Joyce



Saudi export ban creates openings

Saudi Arabia's decision to halt exports of certain products has provided new opportunities for other Gulf-based growers

Saudi export ban creates openings

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Saudi Arabia's ministry of agriculture this month halted exports of fruit and vegetables grown in open fields, including potatoes, onions, watermelons, melons and pumpkins.  

The move is intended to conserve the Kingdom's dwindling water resources, but many have questioned its impact on nearby Gulf markets, including the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar, all of which import from Saudi Arabia.

However, Kuwait's public authority for agricultural affairs and fish resources (PAAAFR) said that the ban would have little impact on the market, since Kuwait also imports vegetables from Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.

The chairperson for Kuwait's farmers association, Barrak Al-Sabeeh, said that local farmers in Kuwait would benefit from the removal of Saudi vegetables since imports from that country had caused prices to fall.

In Qatar, fears of potato prices rising by 30-40 per cent have proved to be off the mark, and although prices of some vegetables are expected to rise slightly, alternative supplies from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, India, Turkey, Iran and China are expected to fill the gap, according to the Gulf Times.

A new survey from the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) found that domestic growers could also benefit from the opening on the market.

"The current situation provides a good incentive for increased local production of vegetables including potatoes which can also be easily stored for a long time with appropriate storage facilities,” the study recommended.

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