A regional workshop on 'Molecular Techniques for Date Palm Propagation, Crop Management on the Farm, and Post-Harvest Treatments' began Sunday in Doha.
The five-day event is organised by the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (Icarda) in partnership with the “Developing Sustainable Date Palm Production Systems” project in the GCC countries, and in co-operation with Qatar’s Ministry of Municipality.
A group of researchers and specialists in palm trees and dates are participating.
Agricultural Research Department director Hamad Saket al-Shammari confirmed that the project is in its final stages.
Qatar is keen on two main aspects of the project: irrigation and its patterns for date trees, drying houses and their development.
The workshop focuses on the installation, operation and control of mobile date drying rooms powered by solar energy. The programme includes modern production techniques and post-harvest treatments.
The Icarda project and partners in the Gulf countries developed various technologies and systems along the date palm production chain in the areas of increasing water use efficiency, mechanising liquid pollination, integrated pest management, and producing high-quality dates.
They also tested, transferred, and trained on many vital technologies and applications for monitoring palm pests.
Post-harvest treatments are necessary to enhance the quality and increase the marketing efficiency of dates.
Drying and preservation conditions affect the quality of the fruits in terms of chemical composition, fruit hardness and colour, and prolonging the life of the fruits, which affects marketing.
Among the technologies developed within the framework of the programme were solar-powered mobile drying rooms capable of controlling humidity and accelerating the drying period.
In 2021, the six GCC countries produced 2.44mn tonnes of dates from an area of 239,000 hectares, representing more than 18% of the global date production.
The sector still faces many challenges in the areas of production, quality and sustainable development.
Hamad Saket al-Shammari (second left) and other speakers at the workshop Sunday.