“Mejhool” is considered one of the best varieties of dates in the world, as consumers around the world are looking for it. As supply and demand prevail in the international market, the “Mejhool” variety can be found in almost every specialized shop around the world.

On the other hand, there are physical and logistical characteristics that distinguish “Majhoul” from other dates, although it is classified as a soft date, its flesh is considered firmer than some other types of dates. Also, the size of “Mejhool” fruits varies from small to medium to large; they are rectangular, oval, and yellow-orange in color, topped with thin reddish-brown lines.

It turns amber when it is ripe and moist, and then becomes reddish-brown in color, covered with a light, crusty, waxy layer of medium thickness adhered to the meat. The thickness of the meat ranges between 0.5 and 0.7 cm, and its texture is soft. Having less fiber and a delicious taste.

“Mejhool” dates from Morocco

“The Mejhool, the Pearl of Dates,” is a unique book that highlights with scientific facts the origin of the best date in the world. The book is the result of the hard work of Dr. Abdelouhab Zaid, a Moroccan expert in agricultural sciences. The book is the first of its kind in the field of documenting “Mejhool” origin.

According to the book, the origin story started with the shipping of 11 seedlings of the “Mejhool” tree by Dr. Walter Swingle, who came to Boudnib, Draa-Tafilalet region in Morocco, in 1927. The seedlings were free of diseases, and they were shipped in wooden boxes to California, nine of which survived and were planted in agricultural quarantine in California.

In 1936, nine branches remained and 64 new branches were produced from them, and all branches were transferred to the USDA Research Station in Indio. In 1944, the seedlings were distributed to farmers in California and Arizona.

In 1968, “Mejhool” seedlings began to be distributed internationally and later cultivated. Production and manufacture of “Mejhool” fruit spread throughout the American continent, in addition to the transfer of the cultivation and industry of Mejhool to many other countries of the world, thanks to the 11 seedlings imported from Morocco in 1927.

Another piece of evidence is that in the seventeenth century, “Mejhool” dates were exported from the Tafilalet region and sold in luxurious gift boxes on Christmas occasions in Paris, Madrid, and London.

The confirmation of origin was done through DNA analysis of several samples of “Mejhool” palm trees from various regions, including Morocco, Egypt, and the United States of America. This study, supervised by Dr. Muhammad Al-Humaizi, showed that the “Mejhool” variable is a local breed and landrace variety from Morocco. “Mejhool” is also known as a high-quality date, and its price is higher than other types of dates.

Moroccan scientist interest of palm dates

Dr. Abdelouhab Zaid is a Moroccan professor and researcher, a world-known expert in the field of dates. He has been working as an agricultural advisor at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs in the United Arab Emirates since June 2014, and he has held the position of Secretary-General of the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation since May 2007. He is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) during the period extending from September 2016 to December 2021.

Dr. Zaid has accumulated great experience in the field of agricultural sciences, mainly dates; he has begun his career at the Hassan II Institute of Agriculture and Veterinary Science in Rabat and studied in the USA, where he obtained a Doctorate in Horticultural Sciences from Colorado State University. He had worked in the Moroccan government and moved to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, until he landed in the UAE.

Born in Fez, Dr. Zaid is considered a Moroccan figure in the sky of international excellence in the date palm sector, where his star shone in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries. His high academic profile and training in the agricultural field allowed him to accumulate professional experience and to get huge recognition from the largest scientific institutes and institutions concerned with agriculture and palm dates.

Dr. Zaid “Mejhool” dates study

According to the Moroccan scientist, in the last ten years, there has been a controversy about the origin of the “Mejhool” variety. Every party has begun to attribute this variety to their country. The variety has suffered from attempts of robbery and theft by some countries, producing companies, or even individuals around the world, intentionally or unintentionally.

This is because of its widespread fame, unique features, and higher price than the rest of the world's dates. Many stories and anecdotes have been woven around it about its origin, to the point where we see and hear that many countries have adopted this variety without any documented scientific evidence.

The book “The Unknown Pearl of Dates,” written by Dr. Zaid, aims to establish the origin of the Moroccan variety. The book was issued on behalf of the General Secretariat of the Khalifa International Award for Dates, Palm, and Agricultural Innovation in order to resolve the issue and prove that the “Mejhool” variety is an original varint.

The Moroccan agricultural researcher Dr. Abdelouahab Zaid led a team composed of eight ministers of agriculture from Arab countries, plus four regional and international organizations, along with more than 44 international experts and researchers in the field of palm cultivation and date production from 13 countries around the world, to write the book.

The Mejhool variety spreads over the world

The cultivation of the “Mejhool” variety has spread to many countries around the world. The most important condition for growing is a suitable climate, such as in the United States of America, Mexico, the Arab Republic of Egypt, Australia, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, the Republic of Sudan, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the State of Israel, and the Kingdom of Morocco.

The media around the world is playing a crucial role in marketing the idea of the origin of the variety; they are trying to establish a stereotype over time in order to confirm the source of this variety, but science and DNA are saying the reality.

Scientifically, no one dares to go beyond the scientific fact proved via biological analysis to prevent tampering with the traditional identity of the “unknown” dates.

The top ten leading countries in dates’ production around the world, according to the classification of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, are Morocco, the UAE, Egypt, Iran, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Iraq, Jordan, and Libya. These countries vary among themselves in terms of the quantity produced of each variety, the quality of the varieties, and their ability to export dates within the specifications required in international markets.