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This publication attempts to provide a basic introduction to date palm propagation, production and protection, and to summarise the body of information that has been acquired concerning date palm cultural techniques. It should serve as a reference volume for research workers, and a source of much more detailed information for extension specialists, date growers and anyone interested in the date palm industry. The book's 12 chapters cover the botanical and systematical description, origin, geographical distribution and nutritional value, economic importance, climatic requirements, orchard management, harvesting, and pest and diseases of date palm.

Illustrations are an essential component in any technical document and the included drawings and photographs have been carefully selected by the authors to assist readers to grasp the salient points developed in each section.

The present publication updates and complements technical information included in the two earlier FAO books: "Dates Handling, Processing and Packaging" (1962) and "Date Production and Protection" (1982).

This was achieved thanks to the enthusiastic cooperation of all the authors who are involved in the UTF/NAM/004/NAM "Date Production Support Programme in Namibia" either as national or international personnel.

Thanks also go to Ms. Delita Strauss and Ms. Lucie Herzigova for their excellent and valuable assistance in typing and formatting the manuscript; and to Me. Sami K. Al-Shahed for the final systematic editing of the second edition.

We sincerely hope that this publication shall prove fruitful and useful. Authors welcome any views or suggestions to assist in improving subsequent editions, so that it remains a meaningful and valuable tool to date specialists.

Abdelouahhab Zaid

Enrique Arias

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