Reading Dates of Khairpur, the first thing appears in mind is something like dating or meeting. But, this is not exactly the same, those who are already familiar with the term might get shocked, but those who are reading it for the first time might react oddly to know that Dates are the kind of fruit. Yes, they grew in a date tree/palm. Dates fruit is one of the important crops of Sindh province, Pakistan.
Dates fruit mainly grown in the District Khairpur, Sindh. Almost 85% of the Sindh dates are produced in Khairpur alone. Khairpur city is more famous for the date trees/palms, this is why this fruit is also called as the speciality of the city. There are two big markets of dates of Khairpur in Sindh, such as Sukkur and Khairpur. There are thousands of people who’re affiliated being involved in doing the dates fruit business in the city.
Some Statistics of Dates:
Dates trees/palms production is a major source of local growers of Khairpur. According to the Pakistan Agricultural and Research Council, the following are some of the statistics of production and utilization of dates of Khairpur and all around the world.
- Dates trees are spread over 98000 hectares across Pakistan examined 5th largest date producer in the world at 0.7 million metric tons.
- Pakistan Agricultural and research council examine that 4.9 million tons of dates are grown per year in more than 40 countries all around the world.
- Iran is the biggest in term of production of dates at 60 % by Egypt at 12% and Iraq 11%
- The total annual production of dates in Pakistan is 0.54 million tons with the help of Sindh 0.28 million tons, Balochistan 0.175 million tons, NWFP 0.05 million and Punjab 0.039
Varieties of Dates of Khairpur
More than 160 varieties of dates of Khairpur are produced. Most popular are as follows:
Khairpur produces 85% of Aseel dates. These kind of dates are coming in the form of a Chuhara (dried dates).
Consumption of Dates of Khairpur
Majority of the dried dates are exported to India, Sri Lanka and also Bangladesh every year. Dates are exported in two forms as either fresh dates or dried dates. The Fresh dates are exported to countries like USA, Canada, France, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, UAE and Germany etc. While 90% of dried dates are exported to India. They were exported by road via Lahore (Wagha Border), but after the increase in tensions of war between two nations, these dates are exported to UAE first, and then buyers from India import them into their country.
Around 95% of the export consists of dried dates and only about 5% is exported in the form of pasteurized fresh dates, which is less than even 1% of the total date production in the country. Over the years, Pakistan has most gained significant strength concerning dried dates. The India and Bangladesh are two largest importers of Pakistani dry dates. Pakistani dates have also a huge national and international market demand as well. So, the fruit of the date has a huge potential to be traded all around the world.
About Dates Trees
The dates trees reach at 21-23 meters in height. These trees can grow in a very hot and dry climate, it requires a long intensely hot summer. Trees of date palms can take 4 to 8 years after planting before they will bear fruit and also start producing dates fruit. It has been a staple food of the people of the Middle East and the Indus Valley for thousands of years. The dates production is a basic source of income for most of the local residents of Khairpur.
The Dates are a very nutritious and hygienic source of energy of the human body. The date fruit consists of 70% carbohydrates (mostly sugar). Every part of the date palm tree has its uses. The wood of this tree and leaves provide timber and fabric for the houses and fences. The leaves are used for making ropes, fans hats, cord, baskets and other handicraft products. And the bases of the leaves and the fruit stalks are used as fuel.
The Dates has religious worth as well as cultural importance in almost all the religions of the world. From Prophets Ibrahim (AS), whose love for the fruit of the date has left an influence on many religions. As claimed by the Holy Book (Qur’an) that dates have always been examined beneficial to mother. Date palm with its different characteristics can truly be called the “truth of life” because of this tree has been so closely interrelated with survival and well-being of human lives in a hot and arid environment
Note: The author was supervised By Mr Farhan Ali Soomro (PhD Scholar) & Teaching Assistant Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Management Sciences, Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur.