Dates: Price decline and pests problem
Growers will step up spraying in Iran’s huzestan’s province this year. The problem is that spider mites tend to create extensive damage as they feed on unripe dates. Producers act quickly as soon as the weather gets warm in late May and are busy securing their palm groves against this and other pests right through until early August.
Spraying and other means
Warm weather coupled with hot and dry winds provide excellent conditions for spider mites, which are locally called “Ghobar”. The problem with these and other pests is not only that they spread quickly but also that they extract syrup from the fruits and leaves, which leaves the fruit skins dry and reduces the sweetness, size and nutritional value of the dates. Growers need to be cautious in spraying the groves as chemical pesticides kill spiders, mites, and other beneficial insects that help control their spread.
However, traders report that Khuzestan growers will step up spraying this year. While they sprayed 10,226 ha against spider mites last year, it is expected that they will spray 11,248 ha this year. Khuzestan province holds 43,000 ha of palm groves, and annual date production ranges at 185,000 mt, which accounts for 14% of Iran’s total date production. Spider mites damage all types of dates grown in Khuzestan, which mainly comprise Estameran, Kabkab, and Zahedi dates. Effective irrigation management also helps to prevent damage as moisture makes it more difficult for them to spread. (Mundus_Agri)
Decline in prices
Suppliers in Khuzestan are eager to sell the remaining volumes from last year’s crop. Estimates state that around 2,000 mt of dates are still stored in Abadan and Ahvaz. Prices have, however, remained fixed in Iran’s domestic market throughout June. Export prices have, nevertheless, declined in recent weeks due to Iran’s refusal to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The disputes over Iran’s nuclear programme have presently shattered all hopes of a revival of the nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions. For the Iranian rial it is, therefore, impossible to gain in value. (Mundus -Agri)