Jewel of our beautiful Tunisian oases, Deglet Noor dates are considered to be one of the most prodigious varieties; a real flagship of national agriculture. It is rightly so that Deglet Noor are referred to as the brown gold of the Tunisian desert.
An arid yet generous universe where myth and reality mingle, and where experts count more than a thousand varieties of dates.
A Saharan plant, the Deglet Noor date palm is an emblematic and typical figure of fertility and prosperity.
Occupying nearly 41,000 ha of surface area, the date palm has approximately 5.5 million feet, of which 66% belongs to the Deglet Noor variety according to the National Observatory of Agriculture.
The Tunisian palm groves are mainly distributed in the southern governorates: Kébili (58%), Tozeur (21%), Gabès (16%) and Gafsa (5%). There are also three types of oasis in Tunisia:
- Traditional oases producing 60% of the harvest including 38% Deglet Noor dates
- The so-called “modern private” oases with around 35% of the harvest, more than a third of Deglet Noor dates
- The so-called “modern and organized” oases of recent planting, generating only 9% of Deglet Noor dates.
Thus, the date palm contributes to generate income for about 60 thousand direct and indirect farmers in governorates where the level of development is lower compared to the coastal regions of the country, hence its important role in regional development in Tunisia .
Similarly, Tunisian oases produce 200 varieties of dates, but Deglet Noor dates are the most produced. In this respect, the palms of the Deglet Noor currently offer Tunisia a product on which the wealth of the agricultural sector is dependent.
According to a recent report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries, and during the period from October 2018 to September 2019, just over 120 thousand tons of dates were exported . Concretely, for this year, the national production has been estimated at 288 thousand tons, including 228 thousand of the famous date – Deglet Noor, again according to the same source. While in 2015-2016 only 245,750 tons were harvested, including 182,250 tons of Deglet Noor, according to a report by Tunisia Industry.
Thanks to their specific organoleptic characteristics (taste, flavor, texture, etc.) and their long shelf life, Deglet Noor dates are appreciated for export. Tunisia moreover is the first world exporter of Deglet Noor in the world, then Algeria the second.
Also,Tunisian dates are exported to 73 destinations, including Morocco (3 thousand tons), the first import market, followed by Spain. Tunisia has also seen its date exports increase to Canada (11%), Singapore (42%), Bangladesh (54%), Mali (65%), and Côte d’Ivoire (44%).
This success is the consequence of a strategy that dates back to the years 2004-2005. Indeed, Tunisia has succeeded in establishing itself as a leader thanks in particular to the creation of cold storage systems that make Deglet Noor available throughout the year. Thanks to this Tunisian specificity, Deglet Noor dates are sold at the time when the demand of Arab-Muslim countries is the strongest, namely in Ramadan.