World’s Largest Date Palm Garden
Batin palm tree project near the city of Buraydah in Saudi Arabia is the largest garden of date palms in the world with two lakh trees. In 2011, it entered the Guinness Book of World Records. It is spread over 5,466 hectares and has nearly 45 types of date palms. Buraydah is located in the central region of Saudi Arabia and is estimated to have nearly 50 lakh date palms. The garden has been raised by leading Saudi businessman Sheikh Saleh Abdul Aziz Al-Rajhi under Saleh bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rajhi Endowments Administration. A part of the produce goes for free distribution among pilgrims who visit the Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah during the month of Ramazan. Prior to 1990s, this garden used to raise wheat, barley and watermelon along with dates. In 1993, Sheikh Saleh ordered expansion of the date palm area. Gradually other crops were replaced by date trees all planted in a 10 x 10 metre area following the recommendation of the Ministry of Agriculture. With water being available in plenty in this area, the irrigation system was modernized.
Statistics suggest that Saudi Arabia is the biggest producer of dates in the world with around 2.5 crore date palm trees under cultivation. Nearly 360 varieties of dates are produced. A Saudi is estimated to consume 30 kgs of dates a year. Popular varieties grown in the Kingdom are Rothan Al-Madinah, Maskani, Mabroom, Khlass, Barhi, Saqiy, Muneefi, Shaishi, Shaibi, Sukkari, Ajwah, etc.