Eritrea: The Rise of the Date Palm Sector

March 12, 2024

Thriving date palm vitro plants at Gahtelay Research Site


Eritrea is actively pursuing a promising initiative to modernize its date palm industry. Through a partnership with UNDP, FAO, and IFAD, the country is committed to enhancing the date palm sector by providing advanced technological support and capacity building for national experts and date palm Farmers. This collaborative effort signifies an important step towards transforming the date palm sub-sector in Eritrea.

The initiative presents many opportunities for elevating livelihoods, bolstering food security, and stimulating economic advancement by cultivating date palms. The Eritrean Ministry of Agriculture has promoted date palm plantations since 2003. It is now actively investing and showing a keen interest in the sector due to its significant potential for expansion at the national level.


At the core of this initiative are inspiring individuals like Berhana Ogbu and Saada Ibrahim Kalifa, women from the Massawa sub-zone, who have embraced the opportunity to nurture date palm trees. Their stories embody optimism, resilience, and a vision for economic prosperity within their communities. Despite challenges such as rainfall scarcity, their unwavering determination to harness the benefits of date palm cultivation shines through.

Saada Ibrahim Kalifa, Gahatelay Resident


Saada Ibrahim Kalifa, a Gahtelay Resident working at the government nursery, shared, "I am employed here with the responsibility of preparing the land for cultivating date palm trees. Through our work, we have gained expertise in identifying date palm tree offshoots and successfully planting them individually. This endeavor has provided valuable income for us, enabling us to support our families and children and empowered women like me to contribute meaningfully to our community."

Further north, in Dogali, Northern Red Sea, Abdu Hamid Geber stands as a beacon of ambition with over 1,700 date palm trees under his care. Abdu envisions Eritrea becoming a significant player in the international date palm market through a focus on quality and innovation, including plans for an attractive packaging system to expand into national and global markets.

UNDP's unwavering partnership, including capacity-building programs and the establishment of critical infrastructure like the date palm Tissue Culture Laboratory, underscores a shared commitment to unlocking the full potential of Eritrea's date palm sector. Recent initiatives, such as training over 500 date palm researchers, planners, and producers and acquiring 10,000 international date palm in vitro plants, signal a forward-thinking approach toward achieving sustainable growth by 2030.

Abdullah Sweyli Huweimi, Sheib Date Palm Plantation farmer


Abdullah Sweyli Huweimi, owner of the Sheib in (Northern Red Sea Region) date palm Plantation, shared his testimony, "This family-owned venture in Sheib has been a challenging but rewarding journey since 1996. The fertile soil provided an ideal environment for cultivating date palm trees. With the assistance of valuable date palm tree seedlings and offshoots, we have successfully reached the harvesting stage. This achievement benefits our families, communities, and the national economy. Investing in date palm trees has yielded economic gains, ensuring prosperity for future generations."

The future looks promising as Eritrea's date palm industry continues to thrive, driven by the unwavering dedication and collaborative efforts of the government, partners, and the people. 

This journey towards a flourishing date palm sector signifies significant economic progress and serves as a sustainable approach to improving food security, empowering communities, and combating climate change. Eritrea's majestic date palms serve as valuable economic assets and symbolize a beacon of hope for a prosperous tomorrow.

The remarkable stories and successes within Eritrea's date palm sector exemplify the transformative power of agriculture in driving sustainable development and prosperity for the nation.