Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) plans to invest approximately US$320 million in the development of the Saudi Arabica coffee sector, with the aim of becoming an international player in coffee exports.
The PIF – Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund which is believed to hold some $600 billion in assets – says the aim of the investment will be to boost the country’s green coffee production from around 300 tons per year to about 2,500 tons per year.
Based on the latest publicly available statistics from the International Coffee Organization, such production would place Saudi Arabia somewhere between 40 and 45 in terms of national coffee production in the world, just ahead of countries like Nigeria and Ghana and just behind Timor-Leste.
The investment involves the launch of the new Saudi Coffee Company, which will coordinate with the private sector the development of coffee production in the southern region of Jazan, according to an announcement from the official Saudi Press Agency.
Coffee production in Saudi Arabia is largely attributed to three southern and western regions: Jazan, Al-Baha and Asir, where the PIF estimates that there are currently 2,500 small coffee farms with approximately 400,000 seedlings. coffee grown.
In recent years, all of the oil-rich country’s coffee exports have gone mainly to other countries in the Middle East. In fact, Saudi Arabia has become the largest importer of Ethiopian coffees, just ahead of Germany, Japan and the United States, according to the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service.
According to the PIF, the new Saudi Coffee Company will participate in the development of the coffee sector along the whole chain from seed to cup.
“As part of its role of building expertise in the industry, the company will also localize knowledge and introduce the latest technologies in the areas of planting, harvesting, roasting and marketing of coffee industry in Saudi Arabia,” the Saudi Press Agency said. “With these goals in mind, the company plans to establish a dedicated academy in various locations across the country, where Saudi Arabian professionals, entrepreneurs, coffee plantation owners and farmers can receive the training and knowledge they need. need to help them start their own business. The academy will also help locals help grow the industry and take advantage of the opportunities it creates.
Saudi Arabia continues to be a booming arabica consumer market, growing an estimated 4% per year between 2016 and 2021. Euromonitor International has estimated that domestic consumption will grow by a further 5% each year until in 2026, reaching an estimated annual consumption of around 28,700 tonnes. of coffee, i.e. more than 10 times the target volume of the new production investment.
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