Muscat: The number of date palms in Oman stands at 7.6 million, according to the latest report released by the directorate general of agriculture development for 2014.
The number of date palm trees is expected to rise and match last year's figure as more palms are to be planted by December.
There were eight million date palms in 2013 as per the data of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. However, this is less than the figure for 2006 when Oman had 8.5 million date palms.
Citing government data, the Times of Oman had reported earlier that more than 500,000 date palms had died in recent years causing concerns at the ministry which then embarked on distributing date palm plants and saplings to farmers, particularly in the north and south Sharqiyah governorates.
It aimed at planting at least one million date palms in the country.
The latest report says there are two types of dates. One is the raw date which accounts for 64 per cent of the total produce and is consumed in raw form by people in various ways. These include dates such as Khalas Al Dhahira, Abu Naranja, Khanzeeri, Khasab and Fardh.
Another type of dates is not good for human consumption in raw form and is used as fodder for animals or by humans after processing. These date varieties include Mabsali, Umm al Sala, Shahl and Salani, and account for 36 per cent of the total date production in the country.
According to the report, 20 kinds of best dates which are being produced in Oman include Nahal, Khasab, Fardh, Khanizi, Khalas Al Dhahira, Madluki, Barni, Abu Daan, Zabd, Abu Naranjah, Masli, Jabri, Handhal, Suwaih, Barshi, Qash Abyadh, Tabaq, Abu Maan, Hilali Al Hassa and Baql. More than 58 kinds of dates are produced in Oman.
Date palms occupy an estimated 85 per cent of the total area under fruit cultivation and about 50 per cent of the total agricultural land. These cater to the local as well as international markets.
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