Iftaar brings new, better varieties of dates

Of all the foods served in Ramadhan, dates remain the favourite at Iftaar times. The demand has grown exponentially higher over the years as people purchase different varieties of the prized dry fruit.
Srinagar shopkeepers have witnessed a surge in the sales of dates with people purchasing different varieties on a large scale, all with an eye to each day’s breaking of the Ramadhan fast.
Muslims in the Valley and elsewhere end their fast with dates and water as dates are an immediate source of energy and potassium.
Those in the dates’ trade say their sales increase during the month of Ramadhan and people purchase in bulk.
“Dates are used by customers throughout the year, but during the month of Ramdhan, shopkeepers do brisk business as the demand and the sales increase by 90 percent,” says dealer Bashir Ahmad.
He adds that the variety of dates currently available in the Srinagar markets comes from different regions of the world, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq.
With people switching to a better quality of dates, dealers say that their varieties have increased in the market compared to last year.
“The superior variety of dates available in the market is Ajwa from Saudi Arabia, which costs Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500 per kilogram,” says Nazir Ahmad.
He adds that despite the increase in the prices, customers are buying dates because consumers understand their quality and varieties.
Dates are a rich source of energy, with all the major vitamins and proteins, potassium and masses of fiber they are constituted of that make them easily digestible, but substandard dates, health experts warn, can do more harm than good.
During the month of Ramadhan, the market remains flooded with the variety of dates. “Rest of the year, I deal with dry fruits. But during this month, I do the business of dates for a month only and I make a good profit,” says a dealer.
He adds that earlier there were only a few varieties in the market but now we have dozens of them.