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Date Palm Status and Perspective in Niger

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Date Palm Genetic Resources and Utilization

Abstract

Niger’s economy is dominated by the agricultural sector. About 80 % of the population lives in rural areas producing mainly rainfed grains and pulses for subsistence living. Land degradation and high population growth have undercut economic development. Food security remains a serious problem in Niger. Date palms are cultivated in three main zones: the Aïr Mountains and the Ingal valley in the north, the Bilma plateau (Djado-Kawar-Agram) in the northeast, and the Damagaram and Manga depressions of the southeast stretching from Zinder to the Diffa regions. The number of date palms in Niger is about 720,000 producing 8,000 mt of dates annually. Average fruit yield, 10 kg per tree, is considered very low. Fruit quality is good in the northern traditional zones, where locally selected cultivars are grown, and poor in the southeastern marginal zones. Niger imports about 5,000 mt of dates per annum. In the traditional regions of date production, there are many locally selected cultivars, some of good quality. The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) introduced to the Sahelian region of Niger and neighboring countries some 10,200 tissue culture-propagated date palms of the Barhi cultivar. At the ICRISAT research station near Niamey, there are currently ten international cultivars under investigation. In spite of the great potential of date palm cultivation in Niger, very little research of consequence has been carried out, and currently there are no concentrated efforts to encourage large-scale date cultivation.

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Correspondence to Sahidou Abdoussalam .

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Abdoussalam, S., Pasternak, D. (2015). Date Palm Status and Perspective in Niger. In: Al-Khayri, J., Jain, S., Johnson, D. (eds) Date Palm Genetic Resources and Utilization. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9694-1_11

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