Saudi Arabia to expand dragon fruit production

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The Kingdom plans to increase its production of dragon fruit because it is a highly prized commodity and uses less water than other agricultural crops.

The announcement was made at a workshop hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday. 

The workshop titled “Scientific research on promising crops in the Kingdom,” was organized by the ministry in cooperation with the National Center for Research and Development of Sustainable Agriculture, or Estidamah, at the center’s headquarters.

Experts and researchers who participated in the workshop discussed several studies on advanced agricultural systems that could be used to develop the country’s food production industry.

Dr. Rahma Nasser Jeries, a researcher at the ministry, said the production of dragon fruit would be the first of several crops to be produced locally. It forms part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to expand non-oil industries.

Jeries presented a paper, “A study on the growth and productivity of the dragon fruit under three environmental conditions,” that showed the dragon fruit has become one of the world’s most expensive foods.

Related to the cactus, it grows in tropical and subtropical regions and consumes less water than other crops. It would allow water to be conserved for other farming purposes, the SPA reported.

The fruit also has several nutritional benefits.

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