Kutch has been traditionally the hub of dates production as the desert crop can tolerate maximum salinity in water. According to state horticulture department dates were cultivated in 18,500 ha land in 2018-19 and had a production of around 174,000 tons. The average yearly production of Kutch’s dates is between 170,000 and 180,000 tons.
However, early rains have affected the taste of the famous Kutch dates this season. Growers are looking at losses to the tune of 20 to 25 percent this year owing to the fall in quality as well as crop damage.
One grower, farming on the border of Mundra and Anjar, has been growing dates with the Israeli tissue culture method. “The flowering was 25 percent less this season and on top of it, rain has damaged 25 to 30 percent of the crop. Salinity in water is as high as 3,300 TDS in my land where I cultivate Barahi dates with tissue culture. Therefore, my loss is less compared to the desi dates.”
Kutch generally gets rain after June 25 and by that time they complete harvesting work. But this year, state government data states that till July 13 Kutch district has already received 296 mm of rainfall, which is 71 percent of the average yearly rainfall.