DATES
(Phoenix dactylifera)

The most important palm cultivars grown in Jordan are the Medjool and Barhi, where these two types represent 85% of total cultivated palm trees. The cultivar Medjool is considered worldwide one of the best cultivar for its size and particular taste. The date production system in Jordan involves about 500 SMEs. Referring to JODA, Currently the sector employs about 7,000 persons (permanent and temporary), of which about 35% are women.

Dibis production (concentrated date extract), alcohol, vinegar, liquid sugar, bread yeast and citric acid are small examples of some of the products that result from processing dates. In several Countries the trees are used for building construction and the leaves are used for artisanal activities. However, in Jordan, dates are generally used as “fruit” and very limited is the processed quantity. The residual part from the selection process of date fruits are often used as food for animals. The Jordanian production of Dates has grown from 11,200 tons on 2010 (1,700 Ha) in 2010, to 26,200 ton (3,550 Ha) in 2018. During the same period, also the internal demand has increased, demonstrated by the increasing of importing of dates, mainly from United Arab Emirates (3,399 ton in 2017), Lebanon, Morocco, Turkey and Qatar.

The importing quantities has grown from 8,000 tons in 2010 to 15,450 in 2019. Generally, Jordan import Dates varieties that have lower commercial value than Medjool. This variety often is exported. Also, the export of Jordanian dates has increased in the last decade, grown from 2,600 tons in 2010 to 6,600 tons in 2018. Comparing the local production, the importing and the exporting quantities, it is clear that the internal demand of dates has increased, but mainly for low price types of dates (generally imported).

The local consumption has regularly increased from 16,600 tons in 2010 to a pick of 35,380 tons in 2017. During the period 2016 – 2019 the local consumption seems stabile with an average of 33,700 tons. In the same period the local production is about 25,050 tons, equal to 74% of the local demand. Considering the above-mentioned data, it seems that the local production has chances to be increased, as well as the exporting of high value dates such as Medjool. The average yield of one hectare of dates has grown from 5.2 ton/Ha in the period 2000-2010, to 6.8 ton/Ha in the last decade. However, the production rejects from the first level of selection (made generally manually) is still high, varying from 10 to 20%. These rejects are generally used as animal food, but they could be conveniently processed in other product such as Dibis (concentrated date extract), alcohol, vinegar, liquid sugar, etc., adding value to the dates chain.