Iranian Dates Superior in the World
Similar to milk, honey and grapes, dates are considered a complete diet and a very important item of food. With plenty of vitamins and minerals, dates have 25% more potassium than bananas while being free of fats, sodium, and cholesterol. Dates play an important role in the diet and treatment of obesity and are the most important source of energy and food in date producing areas. The most exquisite species of dates are produced in Iran. The fruit has a large variety and more than 400 varieties of the fruit, some of which acclaimed worldwide, are produced in the southern, southwestern, and southeastern palm groves of Iran. There exists a good opportunity and a large potential for trade in this commodity in Iran. Due to climatic restrictions and the tropical nature of the date palm, dates are produced in 14 provinces of Iran together with Ghasre Shirin and Soumar in Kermanshah province, Tabas in the southern Khorassan province, Khor and Biabanak in Isfahan province, Taroud in Semnan province and extending from central to southern Iran.
In the year 1997, about 230 thousand hectares of land were under date palm cultivation, 83.6 percent of which are productive. Hormozgan province, with a date productivity rate of 29.7 %, ranks first in the country followed by the provinces of Kerman, Khouzestan, Boushehr, and Fars, having a productivity rate of 18.8, 16.2, 11.8, and 11.6 percentage respectively. The production of dates from 192 hectares of palm groves in the country is approximately 877 tons with Kerman province (including Jiroft area) having the highest production share of 22.7 percent. Iran is the largest producer and exporter of dates in the world with exports of 51.2 and 59.3 thousand tons in the years 1996 and 1997 respectively.

Date processing includes several stages such as:
Separation of crown of the seeds, cleaning, drying, moisturizing, polishing, sterilization, pressing, cooling, grading, and packing.

Date Products:
-Diced Date-a mixture of Soya flour and /or dextrose and dates;
- Extruded Date Pieces-addition of dextrose mixture to dates and utilization of special machinery for producing dates in uniform size; -Macerated Date-retaining the freshness of dates through moisturizing;
- Date Paste- preparation of date paste for use in the production of sweets, cerelac etc.;
- High-Fiber Fruit-addition of edible fibers to dates for the production of certain diet foods and medicines.
Under the present condition, countries such as Turkey, Chile, and Mexico are the major producers of dates in the world. By adopting advanced modern technology in the preparation of high quality date products, these countries have become the tough competitors of Iran in the market.