Rajkot: Dry desi dates boost farmer productivity and revenue

Kutch farmers convert desi dates into dry dates to sweetmeats and mouth freshener firms . Farmers have taken it to extremes because desi variety is inferior in quality .

RAJKOT: Kutchi dry dates have now been used to enhance Indias mouth fresheners as well as overall health.Other than sweetmeats, the dry dates also substitute sugar as a natural sweetener in ice creams and chocolates.In the Kutch district of Anjar, two types of dates are grown: the Israel dates and the desi variety.Farmers have taken it to the extremes, however, because the desi variety is inferior in quality.

Although this scheme was tested and tested, farmers who want to reap rewards from their prudent use have so far produced 14-tonne dry dates in the previous season, while planning to produce 25 tonnes this season, which begins on June 15.About 3 lakh tonnes of dry dates are imported by India from Pakistan, Iraq, and the UAE each year.Last year, four farmers in Pantiya village, 10 km off Anjar town in Kutch district, invested Rs 25 lakh and purchased a customized dryer machine manufactured by an Ahmedabad-based company.India imports dry dates from Pakistan, UAE, and other nations, according to Praful Patel.

The region's lush, sunny setting also allows for drying the dates without the use of a generator.Thus, the import was cheap.The Indian government imposed a 200 percent duty on date imports from Pakistan after the Pulwama attack, which gave us the best chance.Dates are grown on a 19,000-hectare site in Kutch, with annual production exceeding 1.8 lakh tonnes.

Farmers are now offering powdered dates, not only in dry form, but also in powdered form.Vikramsinh Jadeja, a Kutch-based farmer who is president of the dates palm growers association, said he had tried dehydrating the dates some 15-20 years ago using onion-making machinery.At that point, the price was about Rs 42 per kilo, while importers were paying Rs 40 for dry dates from Pakistan.Initially, this project didn't seem viable, but Jadeja says that we now have a good chance after the heavy import duty on Pakistan's dry dates.