— Farming and trade of potatoes and onions has become a lucrative business for some expats in the Al-Qassim region. They dominate the trade of these goods in Buraida’s main fruit and vegetable market, primarily because of the reluctance of Saudis to engage in this business, according to a report in a local Arabic daily.
Sultan Al-Thunayyan, member of the agricultural committee in Al-Qassim region, said that foreign workers cash in on the situation of this thriving business. They are attracted to this venture as the cost of cultivation of potatoes and onions is much lower because there is no need of water to irrigate these products, he said.
The Asian workers stock huge quantity of onions and potatoes during the harvest season for later sale at a higher price, or transport them to other regions where they expect massive profits because of short supply. These workers collectively fix the prices and make it difficult for customers to get these products at cheaper rates elsewhere.
Al-Thunayyan stressed that Saudis should take over this sector so as to end the monopoly and price gouging by foreign nationals.
“Saudi businessmen and companies should enter in the farming and trade of these goods and put an end to the practice of foreigners selling huge profits by controlling the market. For this, we should cancel agreements with foreigners to purchase these products from them,” he said while urging Saudi agricultural companies to harvest these products and put a stop to the monopoly. — SG