Kachchhi Kharek, the indigenous variety of dates of Kutch, has become the second fruit of Gujarat to get a geographical indication (GI) tag from the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDT) of India.
About Kachchhi Kharek
- The presence of dates in Kachchh (Kutch) is believed to be around 400-500 years old.
- It is believed that date palm groves along the north-western border of India have developed from the seeds thrown by the settlers, who used to visit Middle-East countries for Haj.
- It is also probable that the Arab gardeners working in the palaces of the former rulers of Kachchh might also have contributed to the import of the date seeds and offshoots from Arab countries.
- Dates grown in Kutch are harvested at the khalal stage, the stage when fruits have matured, accumulated sucrose, and have turned red or yellow but are still crisp.
- The Kutch date season typically commences on June 15 each year, and the trees are known for their tolerance to salinity and adaptability to extreme drought and heat conditions.
- In other countries, they are allowed to ripen further till they become soft and dark brown or black in colour.
- Kachchh is the only place around the globe where fresh dates are economically cultivated, marketed, and consumed.
- There are around two million date palms in Kutch today and around 1.7 million of them are seedling-origin palms of deshi (indigenous) varieties.
- They are seedling propagated palms, each of them is a unique palm in itself, representing a vast range of diversity in characteristics.
- The area accounts for more than 85 % of total date palm cultivation in India.
- These dates in Kutch have to be harvested at khalal stage as they can’t withstand moist weather.
Q1) What is the khalal stage?
It is the stage when fruits have matured, accumulated sucrose, and have turned red or yellow but are still crisp.