The Saudi farmer has been overcoming challenges in his bid to save the profession of “pollinating palms” over the past several years.
Though the introduction of modern technologies and the influx of expat workers to Saudi Arabia had attempted to impact traditional professions, Saudi farmers were keen to protect their own.
In al-Ahsa, east of the kingdom, Abu Hamad wakes up before sunrise with his fellow farmers in search of new palm pollen months after harvesting the dates of the last season. The phase is considered as the most important in the date growing season in the area.
Seasons of palm pollination
Farmer Abu Fahd al-Qasim told Al Arabiya that the palm pollination season varies between the kingdom’s agricultural areas according to the geographic and climatic conditions of the region, usually takes place in February and March as temperatures rise.
The pollination process also has various names among regions in the kingdom, such as “Tanbeet” and “Ta’beer”.
Abu Ahmad added: “The pollination comes after seeds are released from their sleeves. Palms are different from other fruit trees because the male trees produce pollen from massive flowers, which are then used to pollinate the fruit buds on the female trees manually in order for pollination to occur and hence the production of the fruit.”
Good pollination yields to good production.
Agricultural expert Abdullah Khalifa said the process of palm pollination is a detrimental factor in success of the crop, adding that the farmer must have sufficient experience in the method of pollination.