By MD AL-HARBI | ARAB NEWS
BURAIDAH: The world’s largest dates festival officially kicks off in this central Saudi city of Qassim on Thursday when products of more than 6 million date palms in the province will be displayed. Average daily sales during the 75-day festival may reach SR25 million.
Prince Faisal bin Mishaal, deputy governor of Qassim, will declare the festival officially open on Thursday. More than 200,000 tons of dates valued at SR2.5 billion will be made available for customers from the Kingdom and neighboring countries to buy.
“We expect a 20 percent increase in supply during the festival,” said Khaled Al-Naqidan, CEO of the festival. He said the event would create 3,000 jobs for Saudis.
The Buraidah municipality has completed preparations for the festival by readying an area of 27,000 sq. meters, which can accommodate 2,000 trucks and cold-storage vehicles.
“This year the loading and unloading work has been restricted to Saudi youths, who have been provided with the necessary equipment to do their work efficiently,” the CEO said.
The Buraidah date market operates around the clock, receiving clients from different parts of the Kingdom as well as from neighboring Gulf and Arab countries. The Kuwaitis and Emiratis are considered the biggest clients from the Gulf, followed by Jordanian traders, a market analyst said.