UAE, Saudi develop new dates variety

ABU DHABI — The UAE and Saudi Arabia have developed a new high quality variety of date.

By Atef Hanafi

Published: Thu 10 Aug 2006, 9:41 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 6:07 PM

According to experts at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the two countries, which are among the main countries producing dates in the world, are now successfully producing the nearly-extinct high quality date variety.

Commenting on the new project, Dr Hassan Shabana, a date expert at the UAE-based Al Fuwa Company which markets UAE dates abroad, said the new date type called ‘Majhoul,’ is of Moroccan origin and has been successfully cultivated in some parts of the Gulf.

“Majhoul is characterised as a top quality date promising high investment return as it is sold at extremely high prices in the West, where there is a high demand for this variety," he noted.

He added that this date type was extinct in Morocco but was now being cultivated in Al Ain for its economic feasibility and high return.

However, he stressed that its farming needs advanced technology as its tree produced a large date, each measuring around 10 centimetres long.

He said the company would plant 20,000 palm seedlings in the current year as part of its plan to improve the quality of the UAE date basket and adopt innovative agricultural investment vehicle that doubles revenues from dates.

A report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said date production plays an important role in economies of the Gulf region. The FAO estimated the date palm population in the UAE at 30 million. The report added that the Saudi Agriculture Ministry is preparing, with FAO assistance, a directory for description and classification of more than 100 types of high quality dates.

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