Introduction to Dates farming project report, cost, and profits in date palm cultivation: The scientific name of the date palm is Phoenix dactylifera and is considered as one of the oldest and main staple and ancient crops. It is belonging to the palm family, Arecaceae, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit called dates. The date palm is the oldest tree grown on earth. Dates are an excellent source of calcium, sugar, iron, and potassium.
Palm production states in India re Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Gujarat. Date trees usually reach a height of about 21-23 meters (69-75 feet), grow alone, or form a clump with multiple stems from the same root system. Date fruits (date) are elliptical cylindrical, 3 to 7 cm (1 to 3 inches) long, and about 2.5 cm (1 inch) in diameter, with a variety of colors ranging from bright red to bright yellow. When dried, it contains about 61-68% sugar, dates are very sweet and are enjoyed as a dessert on their own or in confectionery. Date palms grow well in highly alkaline and salty soils and water. In this article we also covered the below points about dates farming;
- Are palm farms profitable?
- How much money does a palm farm make?
- Is palm cultivation profitable in India?
- How much time does it take for a palm tree to grow?
- What is the best fertilizer for date palm trees?
- Does a date palm tree need a lot of water?
- Do date palms grow fast?
- How do you start cultivating dates?
A step-by-step guide to dates farming project report, cost, and profits in date palm cultivation in India
The date palm is a traditional crop throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It may take 4 to 8 years after planting the palms before they bear fruit, and between 7 and 10 years to start giving viable yields for commercial crops. Mature dates can produce 70–140 kg (150–300 lb) per harvest season.
Dates producing countries
The largest producer of dates in the world is Iraq and it is widely grown in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Pakistan, Spain, and the United States. Date palm cultivation is practiced in India along the coastal belt in some parts of Gujarat and Saurashtra from Mandvi to Anjar. Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Kerala are the date-producing states.
Is date cultivation profitable?
Yes, date farming can be one of the most profitable farming in India.
Benefits of dates farming
Dates are the fruit of desert palm trees. It is one of the few crops grown in the desert. The date palm is described as the “tree of life.” The business of farming dates is very simple and has many advantages or benefits.
- Palm trees usually require less maintenance, so it is very easy to start a business.
- You can start a commercial palm farming business to make a good profit.
- The demand and price of dates in the domestic and international market are very high. Palm trees usually grow everywhere.
- Cultivating business dates can be a good business idea for you if you are an unemployed educated person. Also, it can be a great source of employment.
- Production costs are relatively low in this business, and profits are good.
- The marketing of dates is very easy, as there is a good demand and price for this fruit in the market. Therefore, you will be able to easily sell your products in the local market.
- There are many health benefits to using dates regularly. And if you grow it on your own, you can enjoy fresh dates.
- Palms are rich in iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium and are a good source of fiber. They are also rich in calories, which makes them the best source of energy.
Date palm varieties
There are more than 3000 varieties of palms in the world. However, not all are grown commercially.
Soft-fleshed varieties: Halawy, Medjool, Shamran (sayer), Hayani, Khadrawy, and Saidy.
Dry and semi-dry fleshed varieties: Thoory, Noor, Zahidi, Deglet, and Dayari.
Non-astringent varieties: Halawy, Shaker, Barhee, Chip Chap (Kip Kap), Bureim, and Shahaani.
Chaharamaking: Khadrawy, Zahidi, and Medjool.
Pind Khajoormaking: Zahidi.
Also, wild date palms can be found across the world.
Popular date palm varieties with their yield;
Barhee – The trees are tall and show strong growth. It has oval-shaped fruits which are yellow and its average weight is 12.2 grams. It gives an average yield of about 68.6 kg tree at the Doka stage i.e., early stage of fruit growth.
Hillawi – Produced in 2016. This is an early ripening variety that ripens in mid-July. The fruits are elongated in shape which is light orange with a yellow shade on the skin. The fruit contains 29.6% T.S.S and weighs an average of 15.2 grams. At the Doka stage, Hillawi gives an average yield of about 92.6 kg per tree i.e., early stage of fruit development.
Other state varieties;
Medjool – Late ripening type. The fruit is large, tall in shape, and of medium size. An average yield of 75-100 kg is obtained from an individual tree. Fruits are usually large in size, soft, and flavorful. These fruits are good for diabetics because they are sugar-free while they are rich in other essential minerals.
Khunezi – A type that ripens early. The fruits are red with a long shape. It can withstand high humidity levels. The average yield per tree is about 40 kg.
Khadarawyi – The fruits are soft and yellow. The average yield per tree is 60-80 kg.
Khalas – The fruits are long and medium in size. The fruits are yellowish-brown. The sweetness of the fruit is moderate, neither too much nor too little.
Sagai – The exact color of the fruit is not uniform, and it can range from medium brown to very light brown. The fruit is wrinkled but has no blemishes and is sweet with milk.
Zahdi – Zahdi is one of the oldest varieties of date palm. The fruits are usually of medium size, cylindrical in shape, and light brown. The trunk of the tree grows big and fast. It is one of the heavier tolerant species that tolerates less moisture.
Soil and temperature requirement for dates farming
Date palm trees can be grown in a wide range of soils.
Best soil – Sandy loam and well-drained soil with no hardpan within 60-90 cm range and pH of 8-11. Although dates can be grown in saline and alkaline soils, their growth and yield are affected.
Date palms need an arid climate (hot and dry) with temperatures between 25°C and 32°C and ample water supply. Daily maximum temperatures below 9°C and minimum temperatures below 0°C prevent growth and cause damage around -7°C. The temperature should be 18°C (in shade) as a prerequisite for palm flowers and 25°C for fruit sets.
Mode of propagation in dates farming
Propagation method of off-shoots or suckers – This is the most common method of propagation. The offshoots should be picked from the base of the mother tree. 4-5 years after planting, you should separate the sucker. You can get 9-20 suckers weighing about 9-15 kg during the 4th and 10th years of the date palm tree. Throughout its productive life, a palm tree can produce 10-25 branches. It is a slow multiplication process that produces great yields.
Tissue culture – This technique encourages rapid multiplication of the date palm.
Seeds – Farmers refrain from using this method of propagation as the fruits are of poor quality. More than half of the fruits produce males that cannot be used for future multiplication.
Palms can be grown using seeds and offshoots. The use of seeds will produce 50% of male dates which do not bear fruit. For this reason, the use of off-shoots is most common. To support root growth, the branches are pruned with a chisel and/or fixed material cultivation and transplanted in a nursery with good growth conditions (wind protection, shady trees, and soil, etc.).
Young date palms are transplanted to their permanent place after 1 year or earlier. The exact timing of transplantation depends on the growth of the root system as well as the number of palm leaves (10 to 12 is recommended). Sometimes the offshoots already have developed roots at the mother plant. In this case, the offshoots can be planted directly. Seeds are obtained through tissue culture in deeper and more specialized palm orchards. Thus, to avoid the spread of pests and diseases.
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Seed rate and seed treatment in dates farming
When using a row-to-row and plant-to-plant spacing of 6 meters, an acre can produce about 112 seedlings. While 63 seedlings per acre are suitable for 8m x 8m intervals.
Seed treatment – To accelerate the roots, before transplantation in the pit, immerse the sucking shoot base in IBA @ 1000ppm and Chlorpyrifos @ 5ml per liter of water for two to five minutes.
Fertilizer requirement for date farming
Chemicals don’t just need to be organic for better performance. Chemicals are always harmful and are used in instant synthetic processes. The palm tree will take time to grow and organic fertilizer is known for its long-lasting and healthy benefits. Cow dung manure is more than enough for tree growth.
How are date palms pollinated?
How do dates pollinate – Dates are naturally pollinated by wind, bees, and insects. Tissue culture needs to be pollinated for commercial plants.
Are Plant Pollution Necessary – Yes, pollination is part of the life cycle of plants. Plant pollination is essential for fruit sets.
Take some male pollen and mix some cotton then put it in the middle of the flower of the female plant and tie it tightly and this process is completed.
How far should palm trees be planted – There should be a distance of 20-25 feet between two palm trees. For better fruit results, it is important to have a complete canopy.
What is pollen / Pollen use – Pollination is essential for fruit germination. This is done naturally by the wind, insects, bees, and other insects.
Planting methods in dates farming
The density of palms is very high to make an almost closed canopy in traditional date orchards. High density protects shade and wind, thus creating a micro-climate in which harsh conditions of hot and dry climates are tempered to make living conditions somewhat more sustainable. However, higher density reduces the chances of growing secondary crops and introducing mechanization in palm cultivation.
The most common planting system in specialized afforestation is in the 8m X8m (or 9m X 9m) grid, which allows for the use of machines as well as space for secondary crops. If an old plant needs to be rejuvenated, the young palms are planted very close to the old palms so that they can be removed when the young palms start bearing fruit. Sometimes the date palm is planted around the field along with other fruit trees for cropping and horticultural production. Young date palms are planted in a hole (90 cm deep x 90 cm wide) to keep the roots close to the water table. In the traditional farming system, alkaline earth is removed and replaced with a mixture of organic manure, sand, and ash. It is also recommended to include the composted organic matter in the organic farming system.
It is recommended to prepare the hole two to three months before planting. After planting, young dates are watered daily for at least one or two weeks. Young plants should be fenced (for example, with palm leaves) to protect the palm and improve its growth conditions. In addition, a coat of straw and palm leaves is placed around the shoot to reduce water loss. Growers generally choose temperate climates for planting. However, the date palm can be planted all year round provided there is abundant water availability. To provide natural pollination, two to three male twigs are planted with about 100 female shoots to obtain pollen. Before planting new date trees, the land has to be prepared by making drainage and irrigation systems. Old stems should be removed but old palm leaves should be cut into small pieces and plowed into the ground (provided the material is not affected by pests and diseases).
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Irrigation requirement for dates farming
Immediate irrigation is required after planting. Drought and over-irrigation do not affect date palm production. Both, though, are effective. Date palms prefer stable soil moisture levels. On the other hand, waterlogged soil should be avoided. Irrigation is not necessary during the monsoon. If there is a flood, water should be taken out. 5-6 annual irrigation is sufficient for high water level areas.
The daily intake of water for an adult palm is estimated at 150 to 200 liters. It is not possible to cultivate dates due to rains. Irrigation is required to ensure the growth and development of berries. Rain and air humidity cause fungal diseases and prevent pollination. Rainfall during the final ripening of the fruit can cause damage in many areas of palm cultivation.
Pests and their control in dates farming
Termites – These pests attack the roots of plants. Apply Chlorpyrifos by drip irrigation to control termites. To control termites, mix 800 ml of chlorpyrifos in 150 liters of water and apply it to plant roots.
Lesser date moth – As a precaution, spray two drops of Deltamethrin @ 2ml / Ltr with an interval of 15 days. Spray first at the fruiting stage.
Birds – Birds damage fruits when the crop reaches the Doka stage. Cover the bunch with a thin wire mesh.
White / Red scale – Remove affected branches or leaves from the scale and destroy them away from the field. If an attack appears, spray Acetamiprid @ 60gm / 100Ltr or Imidacloprid @ 60ml / 100Ltr with water.
Diseases and their control in dates farming
Graphiola leaf spots – These are caused by fungi in humid conditions. Gray color spots appear on both sides of the tree leaves. To control this disease spray by mixing Copper Oxychloride @ 3gm / Ltr in water or Mancozeb @ 2gm / Ltr in water.
Alternaria leaf blight – If infection is seen, spray Mancozeb + Carbendazim @ 2gm / Ltr in water. Apply the second spray every 15 days.
Fruit rot – Rainfall or excess moisture from fruiting to maturity is the main cause of fruit rot. Cover the bunches with paper in the early stages of the break. Remove some fruit strings from the center of the bunch, this will facilitate ventilation and drying of the wet fruit. If an attack appears, spray Mancozeb + Carbandazum @ 2gm / Ltr in water.
Crop monitoring and maintenance tips for dates farming
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Regular activities during the growing season are’
Planting machines (cranes) are used to lift laborers in hard times for artificial pollen, maintenance work, and harvesting.
(a) Artificial pollination
(b) Inflorescences protection through bags
(c) Bunch management
In this case, some must be removed to avoid nutritional competition to the rising point. In general, the age range is shorter (the maximum production period is between 40 and 80 years is the high yielding period) consequently the height will not be more than 15 to 25 m maximum before it will be cut down because of declining crop yield and increasing difficulty (and danger) to reach the crown during pollination, bunch management, and harvesting.
Tips for healthy date palm trees
- Good soil helps retain nutrients and moisture where it belongs. Peat moss is a good option. Avoid using soil with excess fertilizer.
- Water the palms early in the morning or late afternoon in summer and early in the day in winter months.
- Never damage the trunk of the palm with nails, screws, or string weed trimmers. The wounds of the palm trunks never heal and make them more prone to disease.
- Apply organic fertilizer in early spring.
- Potassium-rich fertilizers will benefit trees.
- Avoid repeated and excessive irrigation.
- Excess moisture in the soil can prevent growth.
- Avoid weeds growing within a five-foot radius of the tree base.
- Thinning of fruits and timely pruning of leaves are recommended.
- Fruit clusters or bunches must be tied to adjacent branches for support. Cover fruit clusters with nets or bags to protect them from birds and insects.
- In commercial farming, tissue culture plants do not produce as good as offspring or seedlings.
Dates farming project report for 1 acre cultibation
Approximately 1 tree produces 160 to 200 kg of dates, 60 trees per acre, the standard price of Khajoor is Rs 180 to 250 per/kg.
Calculate the profit of farming in 1 acre of land.
On 1 acre of land, you can plant approximately 60 plants.
1 Tree produces 160-200 kg of date palm.
The price of 1 kg of the date palm is between 150 to 200 rupees and sometimes it is more than 300 rupees.
If 1 date tree produces an average of 150 kg of dates.
150 x 60 trees = 9000 kg dates
9000 x 180 rupees = Rs. 16,20,000
This is a one-time investment in the palm cultivation business. You can plant 60 to 65 plants in an acre of land and you have to invest Rs. 5,000 to 6,000 per plant. This includes all fertilizer, water and electricity bill, and other maintenance. If 6000 is an investment then 6k x 65k is equal to Rs 390,000. These trees have the potential to bear fruit for over 100 years.
Reduce your investment cost i.e., Rs 390,000 but approximately we can take 4 lakhs
16,20,000 – 4 lakh = 12,20,000 net profit from 1 acre land in one year
Fruit thinning process and regulating leaf number in dates farming
Due to its dioecious nature, date palm trees are highly pollinated. In commercial farming, hand pollination is usually done. It takes 2 to 3 male trees for 100 female palms. It is advisable to place 3 strands of male flowers between the female flowers of the palm tree.
Pollination in date palms is very important as pollen greatly affects the quality of dates, especially the size and timing of fruit ripening. Fruits must be thinned on farming dates and should be done manually with chemical sprays. Fruits need to be thinned next year to get proper flowering and improve fruit history. It also helps to prevent the premature ripening of fruits. An adequate number of green leaves in palms is necessary for fruit production. Low leaves can lead to poor fruit quality. The number of leaves depends on the type cultivated, as in the case of barhee the maximum number of leaves is 7 to 10 where the Hallway is 8 to 9. In June old leaves should be cut and used for the growth of new leaves.
To get the desired size and shape of the fruit, it is necessary to thin the palm. There are 3 ways to thin the fruits.
- Remove a few strands from the center of the bunch.
- Reduce the length of the strand by cutting.
- And, removing multiple fruits on each strand.
Pruning is useful for improving fruit quality, both in size and nutrition. Pruning also helps in getting high-quality fruits which will get good market value. It is found that removing one-third of the strings from the center in a bunch produces high-quality fruits.
Harvesting process in dates farming
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Four to five years after planting, the palm tree is ready for the first harvest. Date fruits are harvested in 3 stages. They are Khalal is also known as Doka stage (fresh fruit), soft or ripe stage (Pind or Tamar), and Dry stage is also known as Chuhhara. Complete harvesting before the start of the monsoon season.
The color of the dates indicates the exact time of harvest. At the “Khalal” stage, the dates are partially ripe, yellow, or red (depending on the type). At this stage, some dates are already cut, although the moisture and tannins are still very high. Most of the dates are cut at the stage of full ripening which shows its color. In addition, the sugar content is high, and/or the moisture and tannin content is low.
Harvesting palms by hand is very labor-intensive. Cranes are used to lift laborers in heavy field orchards. In most cases, however, workers have to climb palms to reach the fruit brunch. In the major producing regions, the overall national average does not exceed 20-30 kg/date/year, although production inputs are also low (fertilizers, pesticides) and dates are generally very close. Nevertheless, production in well-drained palm orchards can reach over 100 kg/palm/year under favorable environmental conditions. At the age of 30 years, dates are reaching the stage of high production. Wash the fruits with clean water after harvesting at the Doka stage after harvest.
How to take care of date palms?
After planting date palms, you will need to take good care of the palm trees. In addition to irrigation and support, palms need good nutrition and control of pests and diseases. You can also use palm tree fertilizer which is high in potassium. Keep an eye on pests and diseases and deal with them as soon as they are born. Once the trees are planted, you will rarely need to water them. Palms prefer dry soil and excess moisture can prevent growth. Keep weeds and turf within a radius of twenty to five feet (1.5 meters). In areas where production is possible, cut the fruit in half. This increases the size of the fruit and ensures next year’s harvest.
Marketing process in dates farming
Marketing dates are very easy and simple. Because there is a very good demand and price in the palm market. So, you will probably be able to sell the fruit in the local market.
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