Article from Saudi Gazette

Article in Saudi Gazette

Posted on July 25, 2015

US exports of agriculture products reach SR4.5b

JEDDAH — The United States and Saudi Arabia enjoy excellent commercial relations, including in agricultural and food sector, according to Dr. Hassan Ahmed the Agricultural Counselor at the US Embassy in Riyadh.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette at the annual food, hotel and  hospitality 2004 exhibition which ended here on Wednesday, he said: “In the last five years, rising US agricultural exports to KSA which include consumer products as well as bulk products such as wheat, feed grain and soybeans have been contributing to achieving the Kingdom’s food security goals. Large Saudi poultry and dairy farms relied mostly on imported of animal feed such as corn, soybean meal and hay from several countries, including the United States.”

He said the US food exports to Saudi Arabia also include a wide range of high quality well-known brand names of consumer-ready products worth about  SR1.5 billon in 2013. “These quality products find their ways to Supermarkets and Hypermarkets across the Kingdom” he added.

He announced that the cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia has been extended to the agricultural research field too, where US scientists are currently working with their Saudi counterparts to find solutions to the Red Palm Weevil insects that affected date production in several regions in the Kingdom.

He explained: “A USDA scientist will be visiting Saudi Arabia later this month to work on this issue with his colleagues at the King Abdullah Science and Technology City.”

Dr. Ahmed is also cooperating with several agencies to help increase Saudi date exports to the US, which have seen 300 percent increase last year, though they have a huge potential to grow further from their current modest levels.

The office of Agricultural affairs is also working closely with the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) to re-open the Saudi market for US beef exports that were band in 2012. With the vast expansion of up-scale restaurants in Saudi Arabia, the demand for quality US beef cuts by Saudi customers have been rising. There are strong indications from Saudi and US officials that they are getting closer to an agreement on lifting the Saudi beef import ban.

Commenting on the participation of US at the Saudi Food, Hotel & Hospitality Arabia 2014 to promote its famous products, David  Bryant, CEO of Export  USA Commodities pointed out that US top brands are in big demand in Saudi Arabia, “I was very surprised that there has been much interest of Saudis because of the close relationship between the two countries,” he said.

Bryant who worked for the US Department of Agriculture created his companies to promote different American companies. “There are a lot of small businesses which do not necessarily want to hold a container of one item but prefer mixed container and this was the direction that I wanted to take in order to offer the top US brands to these small businesses” he said.

Muneer Pasha who is representing Salwa foods based in Atlanta, described his company’s participation at the Jeddah food fair as positive. “We come together as a group with a mission to supply the Saudi market with new and exciting ‘Made in the USA’ consumer products. Saudi market is unquestionably the biggest in the region, we want to gain exposure and experience by participating in the Expo and explore the potentials,” he said.
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