Improving Post-harvest Management of Coffee in Saudi Arabia
02 October 2022
Saudi Arabia has a rich tradition of coffee which is consumed as a cinnamon-flavored beverage called gahwa.
In the Kingdom, coffee Arabica is cultivated in the southwest in highland terraces of the provinces of Jazan, Asir and Al Baha. It is estimated that some 1,600 smallholder coffee farmers in Jazan produce approximately 160 MT of coffee, however, water scarcity, low adoption rate of good practices, agricultural technologies, pests and diseases, post-harvest losses, lack of adoption of standards and innovations limit the growth and development of the sector. Within the framework of the Saudi Vision 2030, FAO is providing technical and advisory services to the Ministry of Environment Agriculture and Water (MoEWA) to address these gaps scientifically and sustainably. An integrated approach has been developed to benefit the smallholders and actors across the value chain and ensure coffee quality is according to international standards.
To reduce post-harvest losses and maintain the quality and marketability of the locally produced coffee, the project works with a lead local coffee farmer, Jubran Bin Mohammad Al-Maliki’s at his coffee farm and facility in Al Dayer, Jazan. Jubran owns a farm with about 15,000 mature trees which produces 15-20 tons of green beans annually. Like most of his co-coffee producers in the region, the coffee beans are stored in plastic sacks or simple plastic containers which are not hermetic and may not be food quality. This can cause loss of physical and sensory aspects of the coffee, attack of fungal diseases and risk of contamination. Similarly, roasted coffee can be kept in airtight glass containers. To demonstrate the internationally recommended storage of roasted coffee beans, a set of 10 air-tight, food-quality stainless steel containers (with a capacity of 30 kg of coffee each) were provided by the project to introduce good practices for storing roasted coffee. For proper identification and record management, each container had a sticker labeling the coffee grade, date of roasting, and coffee weight.
For continuation and sustainability, the farmer and his staff were trained on proper storage, food safety issues and maintaining personal and premises hygiene. The good practices learned were spread quickly throughout the community by word of mouth (farmer to farmer) and through social media. Jubran said, “I am happy as the coffee demonstration and training have made me more popular. I am satisfied with these new practices and will share the knowledge with all my fellow colleagues”. Jubran’s premises has become a hub to demonstrate good post-harvest and processing practices for training and capacity building in Jazan. The demonstration helps disseminate the good practices in coffee storage in all the farms of Jazan and a series of other activities will follow to address major issues at the postharvest/processing level of the coffee value chain.
UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations