Asir women bake their way to success
Seventy women here have been employed by a local baking company after successfully completing a three-month training. They now use machinery to produce cupcakes, donuts, pies, pastries, cakes, bread and other products.
Mohammed Al-Ghanem, a businessman and chairman of the bakery industry committee at the Abha Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said this is a good opportunity for local women because there is increasing demand for these products locally and internationally.
Mohamed Al-Gyoushy, executive director of the Al-Baraka Arabian factory, said that it has been a good decision to employ women in the factory. He plans to hire more women in future.
Al-Gyoushy said Al-Ghanim spearheaded the move to hire graduates. He said many young women have been trained to use modern machinery for manufacturing and packaging baked products.
He said 90 percent of the work is automatic and starts with mixing and processing the dough. The raw dough is transferred to the men’s department for baking. The women package the completed products.
Al-Gyoushy said part of the work is done by hand, but the bulk of the process is machine-operated. Twenty percent of the entire production is in the women’s department of the factory. The women have excelled at the work because they are familiar with baking and food processing, he said.
Al-Gyoushy said there are plans to open up more factories, including sales outlets and warehouses, in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. There has been rising demand for their products because Saudis love quality pastries and baked products, he said. The factory’s products are sold at schools, particularly poor schools in Jazan, and as part of meals distributed by charities during Haj and Ramadan.
The factory covers an area of 7,000 square meters and is one of the biggest pastry producers in the southern region. Expiry dates for some products range from one to 25 days from the date of production, while others can last up to one year, said Al-Gyoushy.
Ebtisam Al-Faifi, a supervisor of the women’s section at the factory, said that Saudi women are able to succeed in this sector, just as they have done in many other fields. This is an opportunity for the many unemployed female graduates in the country to find jobs, she said.
Khulood Omran said that many Saudi women are making headway in business in the region. She urged businessmen to create jobs for women, especially in the production of sweets and leather goods.
With proper training women can accomplish tremendous progress in this line of work, said Areej Al-Qahtani, who believes that Saudi women have the ability, confidence and drive to succeed.