‘Mango Mania’ at Lulu stores in Riyadh, Alkhobar

RIYADH: More than 100 varieties of mangoes from at least 10 countries will be on display and sale for the first time in Saudi Arabia at Lulu’s International Mango Festival.The festival, dubbed as “Mango Mania,” the first of its kind to be hosted by Lulu Hypermarkets of Riyadh and Alkhobar, comes in line with the policies of the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture, which has intensified efforts to promote cultivation of this cash crop in the country’s southern region.Addressing a press conference here Monday night, Shehim Mohammed Unni, Lulu’s regional director, said: “The 10-day festival, beginning Wednesday, is the first festival of its kind that supports the Saudi government’s initiative to boost cultivation of mangoes, which in turn can give a fillip to the agricultural economy.”The high-profile festival, he said, would be inaugurated by Saad Abdullah Al-Ajlan, chairman of the commerce committee of Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI). Shehim also announced that the mangoes would be sold at cost price during the first two days of the festival.The press conference was attended and addressed by top Lulu executives and fruit experts. Prominent among those include Lulu’s Regional Director Packer Koya P. Ali, Regional Director for Eastern Province Abdul Basheer, Purchase Manager Rizwin Razak, General Managers Shafeeq Rahman and Hashim K.Spelling out the features of the mango festival, Koya said: “Saudi grown mangoes and large varieties from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Thailand, Kenya, Mexico and the Philippines will be exhibited and sold at the event.”He said the timing of the festival coincides with the seasonal harvest of the mango in Jazan. Mango cultivation in the Kingdom started in 1982, when the Ministry of Agriculture planted the first trees brought from mango-producing nations such as India, Egypt, Sudan and the US. – Arabnews