Tunisian date palms have historically flourished in desert oases, one of which is the Kebili oasis in southern Tunisia. Kartago Dates explains that Tunisia is the world's largest date exporter by value, and about 58% of that production comes from the Kebili oasis.
However, the formerly lush date orchards in the Kebili oasis are drying up because of a drought that's persisted for more than ten years. Date farmer and Water Association treasurer Mouhamed Bouaziz: "We haven't seen rain since 2011. Underground water is boiling hot. When the electricity is cut off, the farmers can't use the water for irrigation and the waterwheels are broken."
The drought has also caused an infestation of date mites that threaten the health of the region's date palms, contributing to fears about the future of Tunisia's date industry.