Jordanian Date Festival: 125% global demand surge, 40% jobs for women

(Photos: Dana Al-Zyadat, Jordan news)
Last week, Jordan commenced its fifth International Festival of Jordanian Dates. The festival, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Jordanian Dates Association (JODA), and the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation (KIAAI), drew the participation of representatives from international organizations, diplomats in Jordan, as well as large gathering of researchers, farm owners, date producers, and companies in the Kingdom. During the opening ceremony, Minister of Agriculture Khalid Huneifat emphasized the ancient historical roots of palm cultivation in Jordan, citing evidence dating back thousands of years, with Aqaba being known for palm cultivation as far back as 3000 years before Christ. اضافة اعلان

According to Engineer Mohammed Al-Natour, reflecting on their fourth participation in the festival, highlighted the resilience of Jordanian producers amid challenging times, expressing solidarity with the people in Gaza. Natour mentioned the evolution of date culture in Jordan, driven by diversity in industries, fostering expansion in cultivation and production.

Intense competition in the Jordanian market
He noted the intense competition in the Jordanian market and high demand globally, with some companies and individuals reserving dates on the tree due to significant pre-harvest season demand.

Meanwhile, Nidal Al-Majali, a festival visitor, acknowledged the organizers' determination and expressed pride in Jordanian date diversity and production, recognizing its competitiveness in the global market.

Jordanian dates witnessed a remarkable 125 percent increase in demand in international markets compared to previous yearsAccording to the head of the Jordanian Dates Association, Anwar Haddad, Jordanian dates witnessed a remarkable 125 percent increase in demand in international markets compared to previous years. He shared positive growth metrics, noting an expansion in the date sector's area from 38,000 to 45,000 dunums. Production also recorded an increase from 26,000 to 30,000 tons per year, ranking Jordan 11 in terms of quantity of exports and ninth in terms of export value globally.

Algeria participated for the first time
Haddad pointed out that this year's festival saw a higher number of visitors and participating delegations, with Algeria participating for the first time. He mentioned conducting 700 meetings with date traders to promote Jordanian dates. Despite challenges such as water scarcity and a shortage of trained labor, maintaining the quality of dates remains a priority, with Jordan leading globally in the quality of unknown variety dates.

Women make up 40 percent of employment opportunities
Huneifat highlighted the sector's significance, attracting private sector interest due to its geographical advantage, especially for the unknown variety. Investments in the sector have reached approximately half a billion dollars, contributing to the employment of about 5,000 to 8,000 opportunities, with 40 percent being women.

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