Srinagar: Do you know that the ‘khajoor’ sellers recommend ‘Mabroom dates’ imported from Medina in Saudi Arabia for iftar-time if you are diabetic? And do you know that ‘Medjool’ and ‘Ajwa’ are among the costliest date varieties available in the Kashmir markets?
Though the claim that ‘Mabroom’ was suitable for sugar patients has not been tested by the medical experts in Kashmir yet, around 80 varieties of dates imported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, Tunisia and other countries are presently available in the markets ahead of the beginning of the holy month of Ramadhan.
80 varieties imported from Medina, Iran, Jordan, etc
From Rs. 200 to Rs.1600 per kg, these dates are selling like hotcakes in the Kashmir markets these days.
Associated with the business for the past 30 years, Zahoor Ahmad Tramboo of the ‘Tramboo Enterprises said around 80 varieties of dates were available in the markets ahead of the fasting month. He said every year they would procure a new variety because of the big demand for dates in Kashmir during Ramadhan.
“Around 70 to 80 varieties of dates are available in Kashmir out of which 40 are from Medina only. Then, there are 15 varieties from Iran and the remaining are from Tunisia, Jordan, Bahrain, Iraq, etc. We used to get dates from Pakistan too but the same is not available now due to the suspension of cross-LoC trade,” Zahoor told The Kashmir Monitor.
He claimed that the ‘mabroom’ and ‘khudri’ dates were suitable for sugar patients even though these varieties are very sweet to taste. “These are ideal for sugar patients as it balances the sugar level in the body when eaten on an empty stomach during iftar time,” he said.
Price range from Rs. 200 ro Rs. 1600
He said a five kg box of ‘Mazafati’ dates sold for just Rs. 750 and that the ‘Ajwa’ and ‘Medjool’ were the costliest varieties.
“Mazafati dates from Iran cost Rs. 750 for a five kg box and it sells for Rs. 200 a kilo in retail. The costliest happens to be Medjool from Jordan that sells for around Rs. 1300 or more per kilo. Some high-end stores even sell Medjool for Rs. 1600 per kilo. Ajwa dates are costly too and sell from Rs. 800 to Rs. 1200 per kilo. There is a seedless variety called Sukri that is also available now,” said Zahoor while adding that around 500 to 600 tonnes of dates were imported for Ramadhan in Kashmir.
‘Kalmi’, ‘Fard’ and ‘Safawi’ most popular
Owais Farooq from ‘Bilal & Co’ said the ‘Kalmi’, ‘Fard’ and ‘Safwi’ were the most popular varieties in Kashmir.
“Kalmi and Safawi seem to be the most popular varieties this year. These sell for up to Rs. 500 a kilo in retail depending on the quality. Fard dates that are cheaper than these two varieties too are popular,” Owais told The Kashmir Monitor.
He said Ajwa dates were popular too but due to their high cost, everybody could not afford them.
Interestingly, Ajwa is among the most sought after variety of dates in the Muslim world because of a hadith that states: “Whoever eats seven ajwah dates in the morning, will not be harmed by any poison or witchcraft that day.”