Ahmedabad, Jun 23 (UNI) The progressive farmers of arid region of Kutch in the north-western part of Gujarat have successfully cultivated date palm plants which are expected to produce 95,000 metric tonne palm fruits during the current season.
A leading farmer, Govindbhai Patel of Mankuva village of Bhuj, said the experts from agriculture fields have estimated that the 19 lakh date palm plants in the Kutch region would produce not less than 95,000 mt fruits of date palm in this season starting from the end of this month.
Forward farmers of this region have planted the tissue of ''Barahi date palm'' in 10,000 acres of land. The tissue has been exported from West Asian countries. The date palms are popularly known in and around Kutch as 'Kutchi mevo'. The high-tech date palm farms, producing high quality fruits would have a massive demand in both national and international market.
Mr Patel said after three years of Barahi Date palm's planting, it starts to produce fruits. This is the first year of its production and it is the testing period of the fruit and its cultivators. In case of getting the approval of its quality from European countries then Kutch farmers will get a new foreign market for the product and earn foreign exchange.
Horticulture sources said that ''Date Palm has been proved to be a valuable plant in combating desertification. It creates a unique microclimate, which allows other plant species to survive in the mottled sunshine that penetrates through the canopy of the date palms. This shade house effect reduces evapotranspiration rates and increases humidity, which facilitates a secondary food production system by introducing other plant species''.
The global production of dates fruit is about 5.4 million metric tonnes per year and the largest producers are Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iraq. Date palm is a traditional crop and in recent decades, has gained acceptance in 40 countries including US, South Africa.
Date fruits have iron, potassium and calcium content and are highly delicious and rich source of sugar.
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