New opportunities for rose and aromatic plant smallholders for better production and livelihoods in Saudi Arabia
26 February 2023
FAO Saudi Arabia together with the Ministry of Environment, Water & Agriculture and REEF is introducing a contract farming programme for rose farmers from Taif.
Cultivation of roses has been practised in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for centuries, largely in Taif governorate of Makkah region and it is recognized for high-quality rose oil and perfumery products. Although Rose farming is a small sector that has long-term established practices and traditions, its recognition and strong reputation throughout the country have a relatively high potential contribution to employment and livelihood.
There are about 480 rose farms with nearly one million rose plants spread over an estimated 270 hectares of field area in the Kingdom. Nevertheless, the yield is low and small-scale growers and producers need support to increase production and farm management to meet the market demand. Strengthening the supply chain, improving infrastructure, access to markets and innovative opportunities are critical for better livelihoods of small-scale rose farmers and producers.
Within the ongoing project on “Strengthening Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MoEWA)’s Capacity to implement the Sustainable Rural Agricultural Development Programme” (SRAD), FAO Saudi Arabia together with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture and REEF is introducing a contract farming programme for rose farmers from Taif. The agreement will accelerate adoption of good practices and strengthen supply chain for Taif rose which can motivate other producers to adopt it for their farms.
In simple terms, contract farming forms a mutual agreement between producers and buyers made in advance to establish conditions in which producers are committed to the future delivery of farm products to a buyer under agreed specifications that can include prices, quality, and production technologies, among other mutually agreed conditions
The first contract farming between the rose farmers of the Agriculture Cooperative Association of Al Taif and Al Sakhri, an essential oil processing company, has been signed recently and establishing new linkages between aromatic plants producers and agribusinesses in the Kingdom. Under the agreement, Agriculture Cooperative Association will provide assured rose and other aromatic plants to the buyer who will also provide farming inputs, logistics and secure market access in return. ‘’Contract farming is one of the proven mechanisms and it can improve efficiency and inclusiveness for rose farming and marketing in Saudi Arabia”, explained Mr. Shukrullah Sherzad, Technical Advisor-Agriculture Marketing.
FAO is providing technical assistance for capacity building for sustainable rural agricultural development through increasing productivity, diversification and value addition for rural producers, agribusiness firms and other key stakeholders. Dr. Kakoli Ghosh, Chief Technical Advisor, congratulated and said, ‘’The ongoing Sustainable Rural Agriculture Development (SRAD) project will support innovative mechanisms to increase income and strengthen livelihoods of rural producers and smallholders of Saudi Arabia’’.
UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations