Apricot juice a luxury few can afford

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“Apricot juice is the most preferred drink during Ramadan especially for iftar (breaking of the fast). I also buy berry juice,” said Hassan Shatery, a resident of Jeddah.

He said he typically buys apricot juice by the carton during Ramadan for his family of seven, each of whom usually drink three to four cups a day.

For the Shatery family, the juice embodies a sense of spirituality associated with Ramadan and is one of the long standing traditions in the Muslim world.

The prices of apricots, or Qamar Al-Din as it is commonly known, have increased considerably in the Saudi market, with prices increasing by close to 400 percent in the days before the start of Ramadan. The price of a carton, which used to retail for SR75 in previous years, is now priced at between SR320 and SR350. The price of apricot has also increased due to the war in Syria which has halted imports.

Abdulghani Hamada, the general manager of Hamada Center in Jeddah, told Arab News: “The situation in the region in general, and particularly in Syria, has made it difficult to obtain enough quantities of apricot juice during Ramadan this year. Thus the prices have increased substantially, reaching close to SR350 for a carton of 25 pieces.” He said such an increase is normal and can be expected due to the short supply in the market.

Ali Bahadi, a salesman at a local supermarket in Jeddah, said that limited quantities are likely to be imported from Syria this Ramadan. The local market typically consumes about 2,000 tons of apricot yearly.

Mohammed Al-Houty, a trader from Syria, added that there are attempts to import apricots to the Kingdom, but due to the situation inside Syria, this has been particularly difficult, especially from the city of Alghouta, which is known for producing and exporting large quantities but is caught in the ongoing war.

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