Date palm is the primary agricultural crop in Oman, and it constitutes 80 % of all fruit crops produced and 50 % of the total agricultural area in the country. Oman is the eighth largest producer of dates in the world with an average annual production of 260,000 mt per annum. There are approximately more than over seven million date palms and 250 cultivars in cultivation, primarily in the northern governorates of the sultanate. However, around 70 % of the total date production is harvested from only 10 cultivars, and a small fraction (2.6 %) of the total date production is exported. Only half of the dates produced are used for human consumption, with the other half being utilized primarily for animal feed or considered surplus and wasted. Dates are mainly harvested for fresh fruit consumption; however, alternative uses such as date syrup, date sugar, and other by-products can also be found in the local market. Dubas bug and red palm weevil are the dominant biotic factors that affect date quality and yield in Oman. Traditional methods of cultivation, small farm size, enough labor available, and poor postharvest handling and marketing are the main issues that face date palm production in Oman. New plantlets are produced from tissue culture with a primary focus on superior cultivars that are kept, among other cultivars, in the only date palm ex situ gene bank in the interior of Oman. Enhancing fruit quality by optimizing fruit size and nutritional content and rapid cultivar selectivity based on molecular techniques for better or improved commercial cultivars will increase the marketability of Omani dates. Furthermore, employing modern orchard layouts and mechanization of the labordependent cultural practices such as irrigation, pruning, pollination, and harvesting is vital for the sustainable and profitable production of dates in Oman.
|Title of host publication||Date Palm Genetic Resources and Utilization|
|Subtitle of host publication||Volume 2: Asia and Europe|
|Number of pages||34|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 1 2015|
- Phoenix dactylifera
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)