Achievements of ICARDA and its National Partners in Date Palm Cultivation and Production
On July 27, 2021, ICARDA's Director-General, Mr. Aly Abousabaa, led a scientific virtual lecture titled "ICARDA's Efforts and Achievements in Developing Date Palm Cultivation Sector in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries," which the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation (KIAAI) organized. More than a hundred experts and specialists attended, representing 16 countries.
During the lecture, Mr. Abousabaa highlighted the achievements of ICARDA's project on developing sustainable date palm production systems in the GCC countries – launched in 2016 in cooperation with all National Agricultural Research System (NARS) centers in the GCC countries. The project focused on five research themes that correspond to the GCC countries' priorities: crop management, post-harvest transactions, integrated pest control, biotechnology, and economic and social studies.
One of the vital technologies used in this project is liquid pollination – which a drone can do - instead of manual pollination, which is labor-intensive and expensive. It proved to increase the production value per hectare by 50% and decrease pollination cost by 80%. The project also succeeded in building an integrated relationship between the participating countries, especially in technology transfer, capacity building, and exchanging experience and information cross-border.
In the concluding remarks, Mr. Abousabaa shed light on the significant role the KIAAI plays in supporting and developing the date palm sector by organizing key events such as the Date Palm Festival in Jordan, Sudan, and Egypt and the accompanying activities. These efforts strengthen the reputation of the Arab dates and increase exports volume.
ICARDA is grateful to the Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), our national research partners, and the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation for their valued support.