Date palm, Phoenix dactylifera, is a major agricultural crop in the Near East and
African Regions, and its economical role in the countries of these regions is well
The world date palm production (about 4.6 million tons in 1997) is concentrated
mostly in the Near East and Africa. About 70% of it is concentrated in six countries
namely; Iran (918131 tons), Egypt (750000 tons), Iraq (660000 tons), Saudi Arabia
(649239 tons), Pakistan (536000 tons) and Algeria (387313 tons), 20% in another six
countries, namely; UAE (250000 tons), Libya (130000 tons), Morocco (85000 tons),
Oman (135000 tons), Sudan (175000 tons) and Tunisia (95000 tons) and the
remaining 10% in 22 others.
Date palm is a crop capable of establishing a sustainable system in subsistence
agricultural areas and thus plays an important social role in reinforcing the subsistence
base of a large population group by helping settling in rural areas versus migration to
urban centers .It also prevents soil degradation and desertification, thus protecting the
Date fruits are one of the few exotic fruits in the world, and with the small amounts
produced compared to the production of other fruits, date fruits should be looked at as
a very precious agricultural commodity.
Although date palm cultivation in the date growing regions of the world has a long
history, yet the product quality is still low, the field and post-harvest losses are quite
high and the date products and byproducts can no doubt be improved and the product
mix more diversified. Thus the improvement of the current status of date palm
cultivation in the date producing countries of the region and the enhancement of the
quality of date products have become a critical need that can¿t be overemphasized.