Dates in Basra

An official in the Iraqi Ports Department reported on Wednesday that a ship carrying Iraqi dates is en-route for one of the Gulf States, the first shipment of this once world-famous Iraqi product to leave the country since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

AKnews reports that the director of the Department’s media office, Ammar al-Safi, said that this 1,500 ton shipment is only the first; further cargos of different varieties of dates are expected to be exported through the country’s ports in the near future.

The renewal of date exportation from Iraq is part of the government’s plan to develop alternative sources of revenue in an economy that has an almost 95% dependency on oil revenues.

In the 1970s, Iraq’s 34 million date palms accounted for 30% of total world production. Annual exports from the Basra province alone reached more than 130,000 tons.

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