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Product General

Date Guide

Oct 20, 2021
Edited by
Hyesun Jang
HS Code: 080410 - Fruit, edible; dates, fresh or dried
FAO Code: 0577 - Dates
Top Exporter
IL flagIsrael
Top Importer
IN flagIndia
Top Producer
EG flagEgypt
Export Value
1Y -22.88%
Import Value
1Y -29.29%

Key varieties

What are the different grades of dates?

  • Grade A: The quality of whole or pitted dates that are of one variety, that possess a good color, that is practically uniform in size, that is practically free from defects, that possess a good character, and that score not less than 90 points.
  • Grade B: The quality of whole or pitted dates, other than whole dry dates for processing that are of one variety, that possess a reasonably good color, that is reasonably uniform in size, that are reasonably free from defects, that possess a reasonably good character, and that score not less than 80 points.
  • Grade C: The quality of whole or pitted dates other than whole dry dates for processing that are of one variety or of date pieces or macerated dates that possess a fairly good color, that is fairly uniform in size except for date pieces or macerated dates, that are fairly free from defects, that possess a fairly good character, and that score not less than 70 points.
Fresh Date

What are some common varieties of the date?

  • Zaghloul

Zaghloul is a dark red-skinned date that is very popular in Egypt. It is long, crunchy, and extremely sweet.

  • Zahidi

Sweet sugary flavored semi-dry date. Medium-sized fruit with smooth, glossy skin and golden-yellow, meaty flesh full of syrup. Use for eating out of hand or cooking. Keeps well and is very good for baking. Early ripening.

  • Medjool

Rich, deliciously sweet soft date with little fibrous texture. Large to very large fruit with amber to reddish-brown skin as it ripens and cures. Excellent for eating fresh, very moist. Early ripening.

  • Khadrawy

Rich, not overly sweet, and flavored soft date. Medium to large oblong fruit with orange-brown to light-brown skin and firm flesh. Considered among the best in flavor and texture for eating fresh. Does not keep well so must eat fresh and ripens in the mid-season.

  • Halawy

Sweet honey-flavored soft date. Halawy means “sweet.” Small to medium fruit with bright golden brown skin and tender flesh. Good for eating out of hand.

  • Deglet Noor

Sweet delicate flavored semi-dry date; known for its “true” date flavor. Medium to large fruit with skin that turns from amber to deep brown as it ripens. Good for cooking. The name means “date of the light”. Late ripening.

  • Barhi

Syrupy rich soft date, the softest and most fragile. Small to medium fruit with firm flesh and skin that turns from amber to golden brown when cured. Late ripening.

Fresh Date

What is some common processed style of Dates?

  • Dried

Color from amber to dark brown, bluish or almost black, moisture content further reduced (below 25% down to 10% and less), texture from soft and pliable to firm, too hard.

  • Semi-dried

Partially or wholly browned, reduced moisture content (average 30-35%), fibers softened, succulent flesh, and perishable.

  • Fresh

Dates are physiologically mature, hard and crisp, around 50% moisture content and over, bright yellow or red, perishable. This applies only to those varieties which are sweet at this stage.

Fresh Date

Production Quality

What are some major pest issues?

  • White scale

White scale, caused by Parlatoria blanchardi is widely present in most date palm growing areas of the world except in the USA, where it was eradicated in 1936, and in some countries of the southern hemisphere (Namibia and RSA). It is considered a serious pest in Algeria, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. Iraq, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan consider this pest a moderate one, while Egypt, Jordan, UAE, and Yemen consider it a minor pest. Damage by white scale is severe on young palms between two to eight years of age, but the palm and its offshoots do not die even under severe attacks.

  • Red scale

Red scale, Phoenicococcus marlatti (Cockerell), is exclusively a pest of palms, particularly date palms, with other palms as host plants (e.g., Doupalm, Canary Island palm, and the California fan palm). It is probably found wherever the date palm is cultivated, but with no significant threat (Dowson, 1982). The extent of its damage is known to be less than that caused by the Parlatoria scale. Leaves of the date palm are often clotted over with thin, minute, greyish scales with darker centers. The darker spot is oval in outline and is the body of the insect itself. The individual scale is seldom larger than a small pinhead, roundish in shape, and deep pink to dark red, but partly or entirely covered with a white waxy secretion that forms a cottony mass (Nixon and Carpenter, 1978).

  • Bou Faroua

Bou Faroua, also called Goubar or Old World date mite, is caused by Oligonychus afrasiaticus McGregor, and O. pratensis Banks. This mite is present in all date growing areas, and the damage is severe in neglected plantations. Immediately after the fruit set (Hababouk stage), mite eggs are deposited to produce larvae which will feed on the fruits and later cover these with a web retaining sand particles. The cycle length is about ten to fifteen days, depending on temperature. Mites will rapidly multiply causing the drop-off of the fruits. Affected mature fruits are of no commercial value.

  • Caroub moth

Caroub moth also called "Ver de la Datte" in French, is caused by Ectomyelois ceratoniae Zeller, and is found in all date growing areas. The larva of the Caroub moth attacks dates in plantations, packing houses, and stores. Eggs are laid on the dates, and hatching begins four days later. The larval period is about three weeks in warm months and eight weeks in colder months. The pupal period is about five days. Considering the moth's life cycle, it is recommended to protect the fruit bunches, clean the plantation from wind-fallen fruits, and fumigate harvested and stored dates. The use of pheromone traps will help determine the emergence of moths and estimate the population level. In addition, the rate of infestation could be lowered by spraying the infested fruits with Bacillus thuringiensis (Djerbi, 1994).


Chapter XII: Diseases and Pests of Date Palm

Fresh Date

What factors determine the quality of dates?

  • Color
  • Uniformity of size
  • Absence of defects
  • Character
  • Harvesting, sorting & grading
  • Transportation & cool chain, to maintain the optimum condition to deliver high-quality products
  • Pesticide traces, the whole plantation, and the production cycle have to be controlled to make sure that the final product is safe
Fresh Date
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