RIYADH (Rahnuma): Experts have backed calls by Saudi Arabia to have dates classified as a “super fruit” due to their vital role in global food security.
As awareness of the fruit’s high nutritional value grows, world demand is rising annually with the market for dates now worth $1.2 billion per year.
The Kingdom’s permanent representative to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mohammed Al-Ghamdi, spoke at a special workshop on the healthy food held at the UN agency’s headquarters in the Italian capital Rome.
He was joined by scientists and experts from around the world, and representatives of Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Germany were among the high-profile conference speakers.
The sweet-tasting fruit, which has been cultivated for more than 6,000 years, is grown in at least 40 countries.
Addressing delegates, the FAO deputy director-general for climate and natural resources, Maria Helena Semedo, thanked Saudi Arabia for organizing the workshop and said: “Although dates first came from the Middle East, today, all continents are either producing or consuming them.
“Dates are extraordinary fruits given their nutritional value and contribution to nutrition and healthy diets.”