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Faced with the threat of climate change, Saudi Arabia to strengthen its date palm genetic bank

RIYAD: To better protect and safeguard plant genetic diversity, the Saudi National Center for Palms and Dates has registered more than 127 types of local and international date seeds, making it the largest date palm genetic bank in the world. world.

The Al-Ahsa center plans to increase the number of date varieties and bring the number of registered dates to 200 by 2027, center director Khalid Al-Husseini told Arab News.

Saudi Arabia has around 30 million palm trees which produce nearly 1.5 million tonnes of dates.

Al-Husseini said that most of the dates recorded at the center are “compatible with nature” because the soil is suitable for most types of dates. He said other varieties come from the United States, Tunisia, Algeria and Iraq.

Al-Husseini also said that the center aims to preserve national and global seeds, especially rare and endangered ones. The center is carrying out physiological and morphological studies on these types of seeds in order to determine their adaptability to local climatic conditions. The laboratories are also supplied with the varieties of palm trees required.

Climate change is a significant problem affecting crops globally as more and more are disappearing. Seed banks provide adequate conditions to ensure the longevity of seeds.

Al-Husseini said the center is also working on creating a database for date palms with the aim of saving them from extinction. The genetic seed bank was founded in 1999 when more than 100 research projects have been carried out to date.

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