Sumary of Growing strong: Taif rose farmers gear up for pre-production season:
- MAKKAH: Farmers are readying their gear as the Taif Rose, a proud Saudi symbol, prepares for next year’s harvest amid fears of an early winter frost.
- Legend has it that the seedlings were brought to the Kingdom five centuries ago after an Ottoman sultan offered Levantine rose seedlings to a nobleman in Makkah, who ordered that they were sent to Al-Hada Mountain in Taif for planting, with the area known for its mild and cool weather, similar to the climate of the Levant.
- According to a 2018 Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority report, the Taif rose market is estimated to be worth SR52 million ($13.8 million), with a growth potential of up to SR700 million if new opportunities are adequately exploited.
- Taif roses were first documented by Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, who visited Taif in 1814. Maurice Tamiser, the French chief medical officer in the French armies, mentioned them in 1834 when he was sent to the Hejaz by Mohammed Ali.
- Other early Taif rose observers include French diplomat Leon Roches in 1841, and Swiss writer Charles Didier in 1854, and other travelers.
- “Foreign delegations visit Taif from time to time and carry out agricultural studies and take with them agricultural seedlings to their countries, but they have not succeeded in obtaining the same quality.