Residents stock dates ahead of Holy Ramadan

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Dates are in much demand during the peak season of Ramadan.

Dates are in much demand during the peak season of Ramadan.

Scores of Jeddah residents are stocking up on dates ahead of Ramadan in anticipation of price rise during the busy season.

Date shops and retailers in Jeddah are witnessing unprecedented demand for dates in the days leading up to the holy month, making Ramadan the busiest season of the year for the industry.

Several consumers have expressed concern about potential price increases.

“The prices of dates are not fixed, but have fluctuated for several reasons, including production quantities, climate volatility and high transport and stock prices,” Ali Abdullah, a date seller at a shop in downtown Jeddah, told Arab News.

“The decline in the number of workers and the increase in their wages have also impacted the prices of dates.”

The price of a three-kilogram carton of Al-Barhi dates costs about SR35, while the price of a three-kilogram box of Rotana Madinah dates retails for about SR30. Madinah dates, which are considered the best and most popular type of dates among Saudi families, sell for about SR60 a kilo, while Sukary Al-Halil dates from Madinah sell for about SR17 per kilo.

Al-Ratb dates from Qassim, which were typically the most expensive, are priced about at SR20 a carton, while Al-khalas dates from Al-Ahsa and Al-Kharj sell for between SR11 and SR15 a carton.

Said Hael Saad, a date seller in Jeddah, said the price of dates fluctuates on a daily basis, especially during this peak season, due to a variety of factors.

“Companies stock up on surplus harvest in refrigerators during low seasons,” he said. “The high prices of renting out these storage refrigerators has resulted in even higher retail prices.”

Consumers in Jeddah have demanded that date retailers regulate prices ahead of Ramadan to avoid severe fluctuations and increases.

Naif Al-Shahrani, a consumer, said he has made sure to purchase a large variety and quantity of dates as early as possible before prices begin to increase, especially during the few days leading up to Ramadan.

“Prices can increase by up to 30 percent due to high demand from consumers to purchase enough dates to last the entire month,” he said.

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