If you’re traveling around the deserts of southern Algeria, date palm groves are everywhere. The trees wave gently in the breeze, providing shade, and a popular, delectable fruit.
Date farming in this Mediterranean country is serious business, with 18 million palm trees producing 500,000 tons per year. In fact, Algeria is the 7th largest producer of dates in the world, with the Deglet Nour dates being the country’s top date exports.
But that’s not the only type of dates in Algeria. In fact, there are over 300 varieties of the sweet fruit.
So, what happens to the rest of them?
Hammou Boussada contemplated that and started making use of the unwanted fruits, all while providing income to farmers.
How Rima Dates came to be:
Boussada grew up in Gardaiah, which is a city of 160,000 in the Sahara desert, in central Algeria. It’s 300 kilometers across sand to get to another city.
Boussada’s playground was his grandfather’s date palm farm. “Date palms are my first love,” said Boussada. “I have a lot of passion for them and try to understand each variety of dates. For each variety, we have a different taste, shape, and color. I have a special relationship with this fruit. It’s a magical fruit.”
After growing up among date palms, Boussada went north to pursue his love of plants. He attended the University of Sciences and Technology in Algiers and graduated with a bachelor’s in plant biotechnology. Immediately afterwards, he went home and started his first business, a nursery that grew a wide variety of plants and trees.
[Photo by lionel.viroulaud | Flickr]