- Monday, January 1, 1996
- Status of date palm in Palestine
- Published at:CIHEAM - Options Mediterraneennes No. A-28.1996 81-84
Palestine has a Mediterranean climate which is characterized by long, hot, dry summers and short, cool, rainy winters. The total area of the West Bank is about 6 million donums (1 donum = 0.1 hectare), of which 30% is cultivated, while the total area of the Gaza Strip is 365,000 donums, of which 55% is cultivated. Date palm is cultivated in a small area in the West Bank (about 500 donums in Jericho) and 2,200 donums in Gaza. The total annual production of date palm in those areas is 3,000 tons. This amount is about 10% of the dates consumed in the West Bank and Gaza. Most of the date palms planted in Jericho are grown from seeds and called Baladi. These trees produce different fruit sizes and colours with high genetic diversity. Some of these trees are also old (more than 50 years) therefore their ability to produce offshoots has been reduced. New cultivars which have been established in the area (‘Medjool’, ‘Barhee’ and ’Deglet Nour’) proved to grow well under Jericho conditions. In Gaza, 90% of date trees are of ’Hayani’ variety, while the rest 10% are of other varieties. Among the difficulties facing date palm culture in Jericho and Gaza are : (i) the limited amount of water available for agriculture; (i) fertilization and pollination problems; (iii) the lack of genetic diversity, especially in Gaza; (¡v) the lack of good propagation systems; and (v) the lack of comprehensive planning for the agricultural sector in Gaza and Jericho.