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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Riverside, California » National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Citrus » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #360365

Research Project: Conservation, Management and Distribution of Citrus and Date Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Citrus

Title: Date palm status and perspective in Mexico

item ORTIZ-URIBE, NOE - Universidad De Sonora
item SALMON-TORRES, RICARDO - Universidad De Sonora
item Krueger, Robert

Submitted to: Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/7/2019
Publication Date: 3/5/2019
Citation: Ortiz-Uribe, N., Salmon-Torres, R., Krueger, R. 2019. Date palm status and perspective in Mexico. Agriculture. 9(3):46.

Interpretive Summary: Date palms (Phoenix dactylifera L) were originally introduced into Mexico by the Spanish during the colonial period. Due to the date palm’s climatic requirements, its commercial culture in Mexico is only possible in the Northwest area, mainly the Baja California peninsula and the State of Sonora. The original Spanish introduction of the date palm permitted its establishment in the sparsely settled and remote Baja California oases. These oases rarely produced commercial crops due to isolation, lack of input, and the inferior fruit produced. The oases cultures are declining and are not currently important in the Mexican agricultural sector. More recently, the Mexican government has promoted the production of dates in the Baja California peninsula (Mexicali Valley, Baja California Sur) and the State of Sonora (San Luis Valley). Production in these areas is modern and industrial, with good yields and fruit quality. ‘Medjool’ is the predominant cultivar, and Mexico is now the third largest producer of ‘Medjool’ in the world after Israel and the United States. The Mexican government continues to promote the establishment of date palm plantations and to encourage date consumption and novel processed products.

Technical Abstract: The Date palm (Phoenix dactilifera L.) was introduced to Mexico during the Spanish colonization, but its commercial production did not develop until the second half of the past century. A literature and field research, including a trip to the oases missions, and to the main commercial production areas, allowed to identify the actual status for this crop in Mexico. While the date culture in the old oases is fading, in the commercial production zones it is in active development. San Luis Rio Colorado and Mexicali Valley region, comprise the 97% of the commercial crop production area of the country. The main cultivar is Medjool with the 94% of the growing area, actual yields are around 7.9 ton/ha. Ongoing government support and motivated growers training, will lead to the application of better crop practices. It is expected to increase yields around 10 ton/ha in the next five years. Commercial date production is focused on exports, internal market is incipient, as well as the transformation of the product. The knowledge of the actual trends of the crop will allow to understand their historic importance and its future potential as a commodity and food. Production practices, competitive advantages, and research results are presented.