The Role of Micro-Irrigation Systems in Date Palm Production and Quality: Implications for Sustainable Investment
This research examines the role of micro-irrigation systems, i.e., sprinkler and drip irrigation, on date palm production and quality in a semi-arid region. The field experiment was carried out for two successful seasons at a private farm, in the Al-Nubaria region of Egypt. The date palm was planted under pressurized irrigation (drip irrigation and mini-sprinkler irrigation) to investigate the effect of both irrigation systems and three water treatments (100, 80, and 60% from ETc) on the yield and quality of date palms. Results on the productivity of date palm yields showed that the yield of date palm under a drip-irrigation system with 80% of crop water demand was an equal match to the yield of the sprinkler-irrigated date palm with 100% of crop water demand. This reflects the high efficiency of the drip irrigation system compared to the sprinkler irrigation system in date palms, especially in the semi-arid region. The results showed a significant increase in productivity by increasing water applied from 60% up to 80 and 100%. Quality attributes of date palm (particularly, sucrose, purity, and extractable sugar %) have a rise with increasing water deficit. The results have numerous implications, especially for sustainable investment in date palms. Implications for three aspects of sustainable investment, economic, social, and environmental, are discussed.