FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO launches a training programme for Date producers in Siwa, Al Wahat Al Bahriya and Al Wadi al Jadid to promote best agriculture practice

Training is part of the strategy for the development of Palm Dates in Egypt

@FAOEG - Dates producers at the FAO first training programme in Siwa

Siwa, Egypt, 30 March 2017

As part of the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) to develop the Date value chain in Egypt, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched a training programme for Date producers in Siwa, Al Wahat Al Bahria, and Al Wadi al-Jadid. The (TCP) was signed with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation as part of the Strategy for the Development of Date Palms in Egypt, which was launched during the second Dates festival in Siwa in October in coordination with the Khalifa International Date Palm Award and Agricultural Innovation, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

Held with the participation of Palm experts, the training focused on pollination of palm trees and the servicing of the palm tree head.  It was the first in a series of workshops that will be held successively for Date producers to promote best practice in the sector.

"By the end of the training, palm farmers and date producers and manufacturers in Egypt are expected to be able to produce high quality Dates for local and international markets. They will also be able to collect premium-grade Dates and keep them in gene pools as the nucleus for a gene bank," said Dr. Abdel Moneim al-Banna, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation.

For his part, FAO Representative in Egypt, Hussein Gadain said: "Following the great response by Egyptian Government officials for the Palm development strategy, the action plan, the implementation of which started in Siwa oasis, was expanded to include other production sites, like Al Wahat Al Bahriya and Al Wadi al-Jadid, in coordination and cooperation with all parties involved in the development of the palm sector in Egypt."

The strategy for the development of Date Palms in Egypt seeks to raise exports from the current 38 000 tons to 120 000 tons annually over the next five years and increase the average export price from the current USD 1000 per tonne to USD 1500 over the same period. This would increase related hard currency revenues for the Egyptian state budget from USD40 million at present to USD180 million. The strategy also seeks to intensify local marketing activities, increase exports of unprocessed Dates, benefit from Date by-products and waste, and create new job opportunities.

Date producers participating in the programme in Siwa, Al Wahat Al Bahriya and Al Wadi al-Jadid said the training programme was greatly beneficial on both theoretical and practical levels. They said they learned scientific methods and good agricultural practices concerning palm pollination and the servicing of the palm tree head, which would help increase their production and cultivate better quality Dates.

FAO organised an inception workshop on the project in January when the participants were introduced to the project's goals and guidelines. A detailed action plan was devised. Date palms are strategic for Egypt, which is the world’s top producer of the crop, outranking Iran and Saudi Arabia. Egypt produces 1.5 million tons of dates annually, or 17.7 percent of the global production of 7.5 million tons.