Dates Export Soared In Saudi Arabia, Reaching 103.6M USD In 2013 Pome Fruits And Stone Fruits April 12, 2015
Author: Svetlana Sitkova
Head of Industrial Research Department

Dates produced in Saudi Arabia are considered to be among the best dates in the world. The date palm tree is even present at Saudi Arabia's coat of arms. From 2007 to 2013, Saudi Arabia exports of dates grew by 25.9% per year, amounting to 103.6 million USD in 2013. In physical terms, they reached 99.8 thousand tonnes in 2013, which was 29.5 thousand tones (or +41.9%) more than the year before.

In general, the dates market in Saudi Arabia has shown mixed dynamics over the last few years. The significant growth from 2007-2011 (CAGR +12.4) was followed by a decline in 2012-2013 (-7.9%).

Similar dynamics were observed in dates output. The gradual increase over the period 2007-2011 was followed by a slight decline in 2012 and growth again in 2013. Production in physical terms increased by 1.4% in 2013, reaching 1,065 thousand tonnes, which was far below the highest level of dates production recorded in 2011 (1,123 thousand tonnes).

Saudi Arabia's growth in dates production is expected to accelerate to 9.5% (currently +4.9%) in the medium term, amidst growing domestic demand.

The yield of dates fluctuated significantly during the analyzed period. Its lowest point was in 2009 at 61,223 Hg/HA and the highest - in 2012, with 65,625 Hg/HA. Broad harvested areas along with high yield in 2011 resulted in oversupply of dates to the Saudi Arabia market.

In 2013, the United Arab Emirates (3.09 thousand tonnes) and the State of Palestine (0.02 thousand tonnes) were the main suppliers of dates into Saudi Arabia, and together made up 100% of its total imports. The share of the United Arab Emirates increased significantly from 2007-2013.

In 2013, Yemen (31.8 thousand tonnes), the United Arab Emirates (14.9 thousand tonnes) and Turkey (13.1 thousand tones) were the main destinations of Saudi Arabia's exports, together comprising 59.9% of its total exports. While the share of Turkey and Yemen increased significantly (+8.0 and +5.0 percentage points), the share of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar illustrated negative dynamics (-6.2 and -1.1 percentage points).

Source: Saudi Arabia: Dates - Market Report. Analysis And Forecast To 2020