The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has held a workshop on developing the cultivation of Taif roses (Rosa damascene) within the framework of the Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Program initiatives, with the participation of the Bulgarian expert Dr. Ivan Ginev, investors and farmers.
The Deputy Minister for Agriculture Affairs, Eng. Ahmed AlEyadah, and the participants have discussed investment opportunities and ways to boost Taif roses industry in Saudi Arabia. AlEyada said that the ministry is collaborating with the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority to develop Taif roses cultivation through rehabilitating agriculture terraces, increasing cultivated lands and promoting the manufacturing sector. AlEyada also pointed out that the ministry began to cooperate with Bulgaria, as it has become the world's largest producer with 70% of rose products.
Deputy Governor of the SME General Authority, Mowaffaq Jamal, has revealed that the current Taif roses market size is estimated at SR52 million and the current opportunities will increase to SR700 million if properly exploited according to the strategy, and that the main challenges facing this industry are; reduction in cultivated areas, limited productivity due to the use of traditional farming techniques, the unavailability of alternative technologies, limited commercial products with low quality. Adding that the SME General Authority seeks to empower small and medium-sized entrepreneurs to promote the Taif roses industry by highlighting the available opportunities and helping them to seize such opportunities.
Dr. Ivan Ginev, for his part, has talked about the development stages of the floral industry in Bulgaria, which began in 1664, and he was impressed by Taif climatic conditions and soil type which lead to develop the Taif roses industry during his visit to companies specialized in Taif roses production in Al Shifa and Al Hada areas, calling for the need to raise the technology level and measure the production quality.
Participants concluded the workshop with a number of recommendations on development of an integrated plan in collaborating with the Bulgarian expertise to be part of the Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Program, the establishment of a unit at the Ministry as well as cooperative societies for the development of Taif roses and the propagation of seedlings using Tissue Culture.