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Most expensive dates in UAE and world

Many factors such as species and area of cultivation determine price of dates

  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Some dates cost a lot because the process of growing them is time- and labour-intensive and specific growing conditions are required, Engineer Salah Abdullah Al Mousa, Acting Director, Agricultural Research at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCE) told Gulf News. 
According to him, Khalas, Barhi, Dabbas, Lulu, Fard, Khenaizi, and Sheesh are the most expensive dates cultivated in the UAE.

In the international market, Ajwa, Majdool (locally known as Madhool), Deglet Noor, Sukkari and Khalas are the most expensive ones, Al Mousa said.

Majdool date palm, for example, needs a very dry climate, but also a water source. The specificity of the areas for planting leads to smaller crops or limited production, he said.

The origin of the date palm tree is extremely important. The quality of dates in coastal areas decreases while desert and interior areas yield high quality dates.

The Middle Eastern climate is one of the best in the world for date cultivation, yet humidity levels are the most important aspect, and low humidity is required to grow larger dates, Al Mousa said. The different physical and chemical properties play a vital role in dates price, in addition to the different nutritional properties and the size, colour, thickness, softness, and sweetness, he said.

According to Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), shape, size and taste determine the quality and price of dates. High demand for some varieties with limited availability in the market, low production of some varieties, methods and mechanisms used in post-harvest operations such as drying and packaging etc., also play a role in price, said Thamer Al Qasimi, director of Communications and Community Services Department at ADFCA.

Khalas, Barhei, Bou Ma’an, Maktomi and Gaberi are the most expensive dates in the UAE, he said.

According to Abu Dhabi Farmers Service Centre (ADFSC), Majdool is most expensive date.

It is very attractive — almost two inches long, said Mansour Al Mansouri (right), Head of Date Palm Unit at the Abu Dhabi Farmers Service Centre.

Khalas, Fard, Bou Ma’an and Dabbas are the other four most expensive dates in the UAE.

According to Abu Dhabi Farmers Service Centre (ADFSC), Majdool is most expensive date. It is very attractive for its size - almost two-inches long, said Mansoor Al Mansouri, Head of Date Palm Unit at the Abu Dhabi Farmers Service Centre.

Khallas, Fard, Bou Ma’an and Dabbas are the other four most expensive dates in the UAE, according to Al Mansouri.

Different classes in physical and chemical properties play a vital role in increasing dates price, in addition to the different nutritional properties and variety in size, colour, thickness, softness, and sweetness, he said.

The top 5 most expensive dates cultivated in UAE

Khalas, Barhi, Dabbas, Lulu, Fard, Khenaizi, Sheesh

The top 5 most expensive dates cultivated in the world

Ajwa, Madjool, Deglet Noor, Sukkari, Khalas

Source: The Ministry of Climate Change & Environment (MOCCE).

Determining quality

According to Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), shape, size and taste determine the quality and price of dates. High demand for some varieties with limited availability (rare species) in the market, low production of some varieties, methods and mechanisms used in post-harvest operations such as drying and packaging etc. also play a role in price, said Thamer Al Qasimi, director of Communications and Community Services Department at ADFCA.

Khalas, Barhei, Bou Ma’an, Maktomi and Gaberi are the most expensive dates in the UAE, he said. In the world market, Madjool, Barhei, Deglet Nour and Hayani are top ones, Al Qasimi said.

According to Abu Dhabi Farmers Service Centre (ADFSC), Majdool (lso known locally s Majhool) is most expensive date. “Probably because of that reason it is not very popular in the UAE,” said Mansoor Al Mansouri, Head of Date Palm Unit at the Abu Dhabi Farmers Service Centre.

It is very attractive for its size - almost two-inches long, he said. Khalas, Farth, Bou Ma’an and Dabbas are the other four most expensive dates in the UAE, according to Al Mansouri.

The top five in the world are Majdool, Barhi, Deglet Noor, Amber and Ajwa, he said.

Explaining about those varieties, Al Mansouri said, although Majdool is cultivated in the UAE, mostly it is exported from here. It costs up to Dh100 per kilo in the local market.

Khallas can be eaten at half-ripe and full-ripe stages. It is the most preferred variety among locals and costs up to Dh40 per kilo. It is mainly cultivated in Al Ain and Western Region [Al Dhafra]

Farth is generally consumed full ripe. Cashew, almond or walnuts can be added to them, which costs up to Dh 50 per kilo whereas dates alone costs up to Dh20 per kilo. It is popular among tourists.

Bou Maan is a local variety mostly cultivated in Liwa and Al Ain. This big size date is very delicious. Its ratab [half-ripe] variety is very popular and costs Dh20 per kilo.

Dabbas in Arabic means “honey date”. Cultivated mainly in Liwa for more than 300 years, it does not give good yield, quality and size in other parts of the UAE.

Among the top varieties in international market, Barhi can be eaten even raw. It is widely cultivated in the US. Daglet Noor is found in Tunisia and Algeria and it’s referred to as the ‘queen of dates’. Amber is very famous, mainly in Saudi Arabia, and other GCC countries including the UAE and popular among tourists. Ajwa is said to have been first cultivated by Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] and since then it is widely cultivated in Saudi Arabia.

The top 5 most expensive dates cultivated in UAE according to ADFSC

Majdool, Khalas, Farth, Bou Ma’an and Dabbas

Top 5 dates in the world

Majdool, Barhi, Deglet Noor, Amber and Ajwa:

Current dates prices at retail market of Abu Dhabi’s Fruits and Vegetable Market at Mina Zayed:

Majdool VVIP Dh120 a kilogram.
Ambar Dh120 a kilogram.
Ajwa Dh120 a kilogram.
Saghai VVIP Dh80 a kilogram.
Mabroom VVIP Dh70 a kilogram.
Khudari Dh60 a kilogram.
Zuhaini Dh35 kg
Shi Shi Dh30 kg
Khaneezi Dh25 kg.
Dabbas Dh15 kg
Lulu Dh15 kg

 Anwar Ahmad, Staff Reporter 

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