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Date, Phoenix dactylifera / Palmae
The date palm is native to Mesopotamia, the earth strip between the Tigris and the Euphrates. The Babylonians ennobled its culture, and 50,000 years ago it spread all over the Afro-Asian dry climate countries, from Morocco to Pakistan. The Spanish missionaries introduced it in America, where it is still cultivated nowadays, mainly in California, Arizona, Texas and Mexico. Among the last countries introducing this crop are South Africa, Australia, Greece, Sicily and the south of Europe, being these last three places the only ones in of Europe where the date is grown.

The chief countries producing and exporting dates are Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Pakistan and Morocco.

The most recent sources obtained from the FAO date from 2000 and they indicate that 5,237,941 t of dates were produced in the world; the distribution by continents is as follows:

ContinentTons
Africa1,860,280
Asia3,345,908
Europe8,000
North and Central America23,450
OceaniaWithout yield
South America303
Total5,237,941

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (2000) ( http://www.fao.org )

As it is shown, the main producer is Asia with 3,345,908 t of the world-wide total production in 2000, followed by Africa, with 1,860,240 t. The 8,000 t of European production are totally supplied by Spain.

The main producers of dates are:

CountryTons
Iran930,000
Egypt890,340
Saudi Arabia650,000
Pakistan579,880
Iraq540,000
Algeria430,000
United Arab Emirates318,000
Sudan175,500
Oman135,000
Libya132,000

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (2000) ( http://www.fao.org )

The main producing country is Iran (930,000 t), followed by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as chief producers in 2000.

458,902 tons of dates are imported in the world according to FAO data from 1999. The main import countries are, in the first place, the United Arab Emirates, followed by India and Pakistan. The ten first world-wide importers are shown in the following table:

CountryTons
United Arab Emirates180,000
India46,000
Pakistan23,016
France20,872
Bangladesh19,218
Sri Lanka14,557
Malaysia13,831
United Kingdom13,577
Yemen13,116
Indonesia10,951

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (1999) ( http://www.fao.org )

Spain imported in 1999 five thousand and thirty five tons of dates.

the world-wide imports in 1999 amounted to 267,508 thousand dollars. The United Arab Emirates was the country with greater capital investment intended for importing, followed by France and the United Kingdom. The table below includes the ten first countries with greater investment destined to imports.

CountryThousand dollars
United Arab Emirates47,000
France38,035
United Kingdom21,202
Italy15,078
Germany11,709
Spain10,938
Malaysia10,867
India10,000
Bangladesh8,904
China8,575

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (1999) ( http://www.fao.org )

Spain occupies the sixth place with 10,938 thousand dollars in imports.

467,200 tons of dates are exported world-wide according to 1999 data from the FAO. The main exporting countries are, in the first place, the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Pakistan. The ten first world-wide exporters are shown in the following table:

CountryTons
United Arab Emirates189,189
Iran101,094
Pakistan48,612
Iraq30,000
Saudi Arabia24,852
Tunisia23,099
Algeria10,000
France8,329
Oman6,000
Egypt3,588

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (1999) ( http://www.fao.org )

Spain exported in 1999 two hundred and sixty eight tons of dates.

The world-wide exports in 1999 amounted to 248,963 thousand dollars. The country with greater economical investment in exports was the United Arab Emirates, followed by Tunisia and Pakistan. The table below includes the ten first countries with greater capital investment in exports.

CountryThousand dollars
United Arab Emirates57,973
Tunisia41,175
Pakistan23,166
Iran22,797
Saudi Arabia19,073
France18,842
Algeria14,000
Israel6,714
Iraq5,000
China3,657

Source: FAOSTAT Database Results (1999) ( http://www.fao.org )

Spain invested 700 thousand dollars in date export.
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