Sweet dates exports increased by an overall average 45% since 2017 when export sales for dates sourced from palm trees were $1.67 billion.
Year over year, the dollar value of exported sweet dates accelerated by 13.2% compared to $2.13 billion in 2020.
The edible sweet fruit called a date or date palm is widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. Consumers eat dry or soft dates as is or pitted and stuffed with such fillings as almonds, walnuts, pecans or cream cheese. Pitted dates may also be glazed with syrup to create a snack food or as tasty ingredients for cakes, cookies or puddings.
Key Geographic Facts about Sweet Dates Exports & Imports
The 5 biggest exporters of sweet dates are Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, United Arab Emirates and Tunisia. Combined, that leading subgroup generated 60.9% of all international sweet dates exported during 2021.
From a continental perspective, countries in Asia sold the highest dollar worth of exported sweet dates during 2021 with shipments valued at $1.6 billion or 64.8% of the global total. In second place were exporters in Africa (20.4%) trailed by Europe (8.3%) and North America (6.4%). Tinier percentages originated from Latin America (0.1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.01%) mostly Australia.
Note that 64.2% of globally exported dates come from nations categorized as the Middle East.
Shifting our focus to imports, the 5 leading importers of sweet dates in 2021 are India, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, France and Germany. Collectively, that quintet of top import countries bought well over a third (38.2%) of globally imported sweet dates.
Those percentages suggest the total 107 dates exporters (60.9% for corresponding top 5 exporters) is a more concentrated cohort compared to 199 buying countries, islands and territories with the top 5 importers consuming 38.2% as specified above.
As for the global imports of sweet dates by continent, 45.8% of sweet dates was delivered to Asian countries ahead of importers in Europe (29.7%), Africa (15.5%), North America (7.6%), Oceania (1%) mostly Australia, and Latin America (0.4%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Worldwide, the average unit price paid by sweet dates importers was $1,152 per ton in 2021. That dollar amount reflects a -9.2% drop from the estimated average tonnage rate of $1,269 for 2020.
For research purposes, the 6-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 080410 for fresh or dried dates.
Top Sweet Dates Exports by Country
Below are the top 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of sweet dates during 2021.
- Saudi Arabia: US$322.8 million (13.4% of total exported dates)
- Israel: $317.1 million (13.1%)
- Iran: $305.2 million (12.6%)
- United Arab Emirates: $272 million (11.3%)
- Tunisia: $255.9 million (10.6%)
- Algeria: $141.8 million (5.9%)
- Iraq: $124.5 million (5.1%)
- United States: $116.8 million (4.8%)
- Netherlands: $68.8 million (2.8%)
- Pakistan: $52.1 million (2.2%)
- Palestine: $50.7 million (2.1%)
- Egypt: $49.8 million (2.1%)
- Jordan: $45.8 million (1.9%)
- France: $38.9 million (1.6%)
- Turkey: $37.6 million (1.6%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 91.0% of globally exported dates in 2021.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing dates exporters since 2020 were: Turkey (up 68.7%), Jordan (up 57.4%), Iraq (up 37%) and Saudi Arabia (up 31.3%).
A trio of major suppliers posted declines in their exported dates sales: France (down -20.1% from 2020), Pakistan (down -13.6%) and Tunisia (down -2.2%).
Top Sweet Dates Imports by Country
Overall, globally imported sweet dates totaled US$2.04 billion, up 38.2% since 2017 and rising 8.6% from 2020.
Below are the 15 best buying markets as measured by the highest dollar value worth of sweet dates imported during 2021.
- India: US$240.4 million (11.8% of total imported dates)
- Morocco: $202.1 million (9.9%)
- United Arab Emirates: $136.5 million (6.7%)
- France: $113.8 million (5.6%)
- Germany: $85.6 million (4.2%)
- United States: $84.2 million (4.1%)
- United Kingdom: $80.5 million (4%)
- Indonesia: $69 million (3.4%)
- Netherlands: $65.5 million (3.2%)
- Malaysia: $64.7 million (3.2%)
- Turkey: $63.8 million (3.1%)
- Canada: $62.2 million (3.1%)
- Bangladesh: $62.1 million (3%)
- Italy: $47.5 million (2.3%)
- Spain: $42.4 million (2.1%)
By value, the listed 15 countries bought 69.7% of globally imported dates in 2021.
Among the top importers, the fastest-growing dates importers since 2020 were: Italy (up 31.7%), Morocco (up 27.8%), United Arab Emirates (up 27.2%) and the United States of America (up 27.1%).
A pair of leading buyer countries posted declines in their imported dates sales, namely Indonesia (down -15.2%) and France (down -2.1%).
Lowest and Highest Unit Prices for Imported Sweet Dates
In 2021, the world’s average unit price for imported sweet dates was US$1,152 per ton resulting from a -9.2% decline from $1,269 for 2020.
The average tonnage charge for the number one sweet dates importer, India, was much lower at $506 per ton.
Ranked in ascending order, listed below are the countries paying the cheapest average unit prices for imported sweet dates in 2021.
- Niger: US$100 per ton (up 6.4% from 2020)
- Burundi: $101 per ton (down -75.6%)
- Pakistan: $213 per ton (down -51.6%)
- Tanzania: $243 per ton (up 52.8%)
- Samoa: $333 per ton (down -66.7%)
- Paraguay: $351 per ton (down -50.3%)
- Gambia: $357 per ton (down -0.8%)
- Libya: $416 per ton (down -49.2%)
- Benin: $416 per ton (down -9%)
- Kazakhstan: $429 per ton (up 4.6%)
- Solomon Islands: $429 per ton (2020 data unavailable)
- Kyrgyzstan: $430 per ton (up 15%)
- Ivory Coast: $434 per ton (down -13.5%)
- Kenya: $442 per ton (down -9.6%)
- Gabon: $476 per ton (down -41%)
Experiencing the severest reductions in average unit price paid per ton for sweet dates from 2020 to 2021 were low-cost importers Burundi (down -75.6%), Samoa (down -66.7%), Pakistan (down -51.6%), Paraguay (down -50.3%), Libya (down -49.2%) and Gabon (down -41%).
The following countries paid the highest average unit prices for imported sweet dates.
- Finland: US$398,755 per ton (down -6.5% from 2020)
- Gibraltar: $9,667 per ton (up 17.2%)
- Macao: $8,333 per ton (up 98.4%)
- Faroe Islands: $7,353 per ton (up 10.6%)
- Dominican Republic: $6,512 per ton (up 47%)
- Greenland: $6,417 per ton (down -10.7%)
- Guatemala: $6,346 per ton (up 13.4%)
- New Caledonia: $6,200 per ton (down -0.8%)
- Luxembourg: $6,144 per ton (up 10.1%)
- Bermuda: $6,100 per ton (down -38%)
- Costa Rica: $5,700 per ton (up 0.9%)
- Switzerland: $5,493 per ton (up 3.5%)
- Jamaica: $5,333 per ton (up 67.3%)
- Panama: $5,118 per ton (up 8.5%)
- Democratic Rep. Congo: $5,000 per ton (up 106.4%)
The strongest upturns in terms of higher average unit prices paid in 2021 compared to 2020 were experienced by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (up 106.4%), Macao (up 98.4%), Jamaica (up 67.3%), Dominican Republic (up 47%), Gibraltar (up 17.2%) and Guatemala (up 13.4%).
See also Top Persimmons Exports & Imports by Country Plus Average Prices, Pineapples Exports by Country, Top Saffron Exports & Imports by Country Plus Average Prices, Top Pears Exports & Imports by Country Plus Average Prices and Top Figs Exports & Imports by Country Plus Average Prices
Alibaba, Sweet Dates Showroom. Accessed on December 25, 2022
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on December 25, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on December 25, 2022
Wikipedia, Date palm. Accessed on December 25, 2022