MULTAN, July 3 (Muzaffargarh.City – 03rd Jul, 2017 ) : Agriculture experts have advised farmers to avoid cutting the whole bunch while harvesting dates and instead complete the process in three to four phases to obtain maximum possible production.
In a release issued by media liaison unit of Punjab agriculture department, experts said, in some areas, dates were harvested in four to five phases, however, in rest of the areas people cut the whole bunch, separate the unripe and ripe dates and then apply artificial methods to ripen the unripe dates.
date tree is also called the life tree as its age is longer than other plants. It is a complete food. A kilogram of dates contains, on average, 2805 calories, and its consumption with milk makes it a perfect food containing almost all food ingredients.
Dates contain calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, other minerals besides vitamins and 70 per cent sugar. In Punjab, orchards of dates were present in Multan, DG Khan, Muzaffargarh, Jhang, Rajanpur, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad and Layyah.
It is usually ready for harvest in the months of July and August. Farmers usually use rope to climb up the tree to pluck fruit, however, movable stairs of varied heights were also available in the markets now for this purpose.
Right after plucking or cutting, the fruit should be kept in basket instead of some piece of cloth so that it does not get de- shaped due to weight pressure. Later, it should be spread on mats or cloth for dryness and in the evening be kept in some basket or a utensil and covered by a piece of cotton cloth.
This process be repeated for a week for five to seven hours per day. Dates be washed with water when they are dried and then be exposed before air at some high place. Then it should undergo grading process and the best fruit be packed and sent to market. Exporters should honour all the practices prescribed under WTO rules for dates to get premium price of their product.