Zulaikha A-Kaabi is the Saudi female farmer from Jizan, a city in southern east Saudi Arabia, who made headlines being the first woman in the region to plant blue and red bananas in her farm.
Today, she leads the way in planting the Red as well as the Blue Bananas in the Middle East. Zulikha applied her knowledge of agriculture to expand her farm. Then she attended many new farming and agricultural training programs abroad to learn the technique of farming a blue and red bananas.
She started her farming dream by planting trees on her own home, with some help from her husband and children. Taking advantage of Jizan’s climate, she decided to make that dream a reality.
Although she faced many challenges and difficulties at the beginning, to include the lack of trained workers, high wages, high prices of fertilizers, and pesticides. Yet, she persevered and continued to transform her dream into reality through hard work, dedication and sacrifice.
She sold her home , took financial help from the community and she bought her first farm. From that day on, she worked on expanding the project to be more than a farm in her city, as she built a factory for packaging and exporting the fruits to Jeddah, Riyadh, and Eastern regions, as well various other regions of Saudi Arabia
Today, Zulaika successfully manages a farm of over a 100,000 banana trees. She owns one of the largest banana farms in the Kingdom, and it produces over 20 tons per day. The Red Bananas is one of the most unique products produced among her farm. It has a unique quality of a very unique flavor as if it is a combination of banana and raspberry. It is also rich in potassium and vitamin C.
Creating an impact
She wants to put Saudi Arabia on the world stage as a banana producing country similar to Ecuador. She wants to make the Kingdom one of the first Arab countries to produce red and blue bananas, while competing with other banana prodcuers at the international, regional and local levels. Today to reach that goal, she has created more than 300 jobs for Saudis who are working at the farm full-time. Zulikha is also working on creating 5,000 jobs for young people, while providing many educational and training opportunities for them as well.
Furthermore, she is working towards transforming the farm into a tourist site that attracts thousands visitors and tourists from inside and outside the Kingdom per year. While, at the same time she is busy creating investment opportunities in the Jizan region for investors around the world.