Dates Production

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In order to fill this gap of knowledge surveys will be conducted in representative date palm areas of the province of Punjab (districts Jhang, Muzafargarh and Bahawalpur), the province of Sindh (district Kheirpur), the Province of KPK (district Dera Ismail Khan) and in Baluchistan. In each of 10 locations (villages) per district 20 households involved in date production will be interviewed about the subsistence and sales role date production plays for their livelihoods, about date yields, perceived quality traits, retail prices and major problems. To examine possible effects of soil chemical and physical properties on date quality the surface soil (0-20 cm) of each location from which dates are collected will be subject to a detailed characterization. Following the interviews at each location 10 surveyed households will be used for the collection of date germplasm. These will be analyzed morphologically using the descriptors proposed by the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute IPGRI. All date samples will be analyzed for total soluble solids or sugar (TSS) with a refractometer, for vitamin C, Ca and Mg, for fruit acids determined by titration, and for fruit firmness with a penetrometer. Data will be analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) vs. 18 for multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). The selected descriptor measurements of the cultivars will be subjected to a principal component analysis (PCA) to determine the characteristics with greater contributions to total variability.