First export shipment from Million Date Palms Project heads to India.


The maiden export consignment of dates harvested from farms established by the Omani government as part of the Million Date Palm Plantations Project is ready to be shipped overseas. The destination is India, a longstanding market for Omani dried dates.

The packaging, processing, marketing and export of the produce are being overseen by Nakheel Oman Development Company, the investment arm of the Million Date Palms Project — an initiative of the Diwan of Royal Court.
Nakheel Oman, a 50:50 joint venture between the Diwan and Oman National Investments Development Company SAOC (Tanmia), has pledged to invest in a range of activities designed to unlock the full commercial potential of the landmark Million Date Palms Plantation Project.

Ali al Araimi, General Manager of Nakheel Oman, tweeted over the weekend that the first batch of Omani dates, packaged under the brand name ‘Zaad’, is being prepared for export to India.  A picture of part of the shipment was also posted online. It marks an early success for the Million Date Palms Plantation Project, which was launched in 2017 at the directives of the late Sultan Qaboos (May his soul rest in peace!).

Hundreds of thousands of date palms have since been planted in 11 sprawling farms distributed across the Sultanate. Output is projected at around 50,000 tonnes of dates per annum in the first phase of operations, rising to 85,000 tonnes by 2034. Seeking to add value to these harvests through processing and other commercial activities, Nakheel Oman is developing a state-of-the-art industrial complex at Nizwa. The facility, currently in the early stages of implementation, will feature a processing plant with an initial capacity to process 30,000 tonnes of Omani dates, effectively making it one of the largest plants of its kind in the world.

As a hub for all of the produce from the 11 farms, the Nizwa complex will also feature cold storage capacity and ancillary units to support the wider ecosystem around date palm cultivation and commercialisation. India represents a ready market for Omani dates, with sizable quantities of the produce shipped — in their dried form — every year. The busur crop — resulting from the cooking and drying of yet-to-ripen Al Mebselli and other date varieties — is typically destined for India. Hundreds of date farmers contribute to the busur crop, which is collected and exported as part of annual programme overseen by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion.

CourtesyCONRAD PRABHU @conradprabhu