ABHA: NADIA AL-FAWAZ
Published — Monday 25 August 2014
Last update 24 August 2014 11:51 pm
Taif is renowned for its roses. Indeed, investment in this treasure is high and as such, productive families and women have been able to benefit from this lucrative industry.
Taif produces 320 million flowers a year, of which red roses account for 250 million.
Abdullah Al-Nimri, a prominent rose investor who is also the director of a rose factory and head of a medicinal and aromatic plants institute, tells his success story and how his factory was able to help productive families in the region.
The plant was established three years ago and was named ‘the Taif factory.’ The factory has the capacity to produce 5 million roses planted on an area spanning 10,000 square meters, said Al-Nimri.
“Once the factory embarked on production, we had another idea. We came up with the ‘intaj’ (Arabic for production) project, which aimed to created sustainable partnerships with productive families in Taif.”
The idea was conceived during a forum that brought together productive families in Jeddah. The forum was inaugurated under the sponsorship of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and it discussed the mutual importance of the sustainable development industry for investors and productive families, explained Al-Nimri.
Al-Nimri said he benefited from the Chinese experience by building a research center for medicinal and aromatic plants.
The studies conducted by the research center confirmed that there are more than 80 species of unexploited plants in the country with a consumption value of more than SR4 billion. “It was then that we considered taking advantage of this natural resource thanks to the presence of abundant quantities in Asir,” he said.
Housewives used to cultivate these plants around their houses.
“This is from where the idea to hold partnerships with productive families came up,” he pointed out.
The project has trained more than 15 women on production mechanisms and there are now more than 300 working working in the factory.
“We are considering establishing a program in Jazan to produce jasmine flowers and another plant in Abha for the production of rosemary-based shampoos,” he said.
Al-Nimri stressed the fact that Saudi women are more capable of working in the perfume industry then men.
One of the main obstacles facing these women is the fact that their families do not approve of them working in this business for fear of free mixing at work, he said.
“Women have vastly outdone their male counterparts in the rose business. As such, they must be given priority for their superior ability at distilling and producing perfumes, creams, shampoos and other products,” he noted.
“Most girls earn not less than SR3,000 a month in this business. The factory provides raw materials for them to produce aromatic oils and creams. Many of these girls can achieve a 90 percent profit margin when factories buy their products. This is why we aim to attract a large number of girls with a fixed monthly income and medical insurance.”
The factory recently took part in the Taif Rose Festival with samples of its products, which were sold at nominal prices.
Products on sale included aromatic water made out of lemon grass, a city magnet that is 75cm high and similar to the corn plant.
Face masks made out of rose honey and hair creams made out of marjoram were also on display during the festival.
“The factory produces cosmetics, medical products and plants that can be used in food production,” he said.