The first-ever global exhibition for Madinah dates was organized under the patronage of Madinah Governor Prince Faisal Bin Salman.
The three-day exhibition, which concluded on Thursday, was organized by the Madinah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI); in cooperation with the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDBG); the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC); and the International Trade Centre (ITC).
The virtual exhibition sought to promote trade and investment in the Madinah date sector as a contribution to the enhancement and advancement of local products; increase the province’s GDP by developing exports and establish trade relations with the external markets in the dates sector.
The exhibition included booths for exhibitors, date export companies, and government agencies.
Additionally, holding workshops and panel discussions as well as matchmaking meetings between exhibitors and potential buyers from targeted international date markets as identified by the exhibition organizers.
MCCI chairman, Munir Mohammed Nasser bin Saad noted that organizing this exhibition is an outcome of the cooperation MoU between IsDBG and MCCI toward enhancing the commercial and economic environment in Madinah, building on the province’s dates sector development project, as well as actively participating in realizing the objectives of the Saudi 2030 Vision.
Saad added that implementing the MoU on the project started in 2018 under the supervision of ITFC, in the framework of the AfTIAS program, in cooperation with ITC (the UN agency for private sector development), with holding a number of workshops in Madinah.
The project aims to increase internal and external demand for the province’s dates and enhance its competitiveness, with a view to reaching global markets and providing a large portion of the Madinah population of farmers and private sector institutions with more stable income.
The project will also generate better returns for farmers and increase jobs, in addition to contributing to the enhancement of the national and religious character of Madinah dates, which rank third in the Kingdom in terms of the number of producing palm trees with 4.75 million trees, i.e. 15.2 percent. The produce represents 14 percent, and there are 900,000 Ajwah palm trees.
On his part, IsDBG chairman, Dr. Bandar bin Muhammad Hamzah Hajjar, emphasized in the opening session of the exhibition the particular attention given by IsDBG to developing the agricultural sector in its 57 member countries. As the sector contributes to achieving food security, increasing national income, and attracting large numbers of workers. It was also in that context that the Madinah dates sector development project was designed.
As a follow up to the results achieved, IsDB signed in 2019 a second agreement with the Madinah Province. This is to establish a comprehensive center for dates in Madinah so as to improve the types of dates produced; support the sector’s competitiveness and process fresh dates into other products by promoting relevant manufacturing.
Saudi 2030 Vision
On the occasion, Dr. Hajjar announced that IsDBG plans to design a new project in the near future, under the second phase of AfTIAS. This is to enhance the competitiveness of the dates sector production chains; and hence increase its exports and jobs, particularly for the youth. This in turn will contribute to realizing the objectives of the Saudi 2030 Vision.
ITFC CEO, Hani Salem Sonbol, recalled in this context the efforts exerted by ITFC, on behalf of IsDBG since 2016; harnessing its experience and expertise to support activities that contribute to developing the Madinah dates sector; under the MOU signed between ITFC and MCCI on 16/6/2017 towards enhancing the sector’s exports.
In this regard, he noted the outstanding work carried out under this project. This is during 2020 to classify Madinah dates to highlight their excellence compared to other dates in the Kingdom. Besides, highlighting the comparative advantages of Madinah dates in terms of nutrition, trade, and spirituality. He also stressed ITFC’s willingness to continue to provide the Madinah dates sector with technical support over the coming years.
The event received 100 international registrations, with 30 exhibition stands from companies, dates factories, agricultural associations, and more than 13 pavilions for partners, sponsors, and supporters.
The event saw the conclusion of agreements and sales deals, and the provision of logistical services shipping, transportation, etc., in addition to 9 workshops and accompanying meetings.