| ||Date palms only grow in dry and warm environments with some water, like oases. Around 7 million short tons of dates are produced in the world every year. Most of the Middle East’s and North Africa’s harvest are meant for the domestic market of each country. Only 5 percent of the production is exported. Egypt, the world’s largest producer of dates harvests over 1,3 million short tons of dates a year. Local consumption is around 15 kilograms per person per year and they are usually preserved traditionally. The yellow or red dates (depending on the variety) are picked and then sorted. They gradually go brown as they dry in the sun, protected from wind and water by low walls made of adobe and branches. They are then put in braided palm-leaf baskets. Even if most of the dates are consumed directly, this fruit is also used to make several by-products (syrup, flour, paste, vinegar, sugar, alcohol, pastries…) traditionally or industrially. Dates are also used to feed dromedaries, horses and donkeys.
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