Within the framework of the programme for the “Improvement and valorisation of date palms” in the Al Jufrah Oases, in Libya, the non-profit Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, thanks to its consolidated experience in the promotion of traditional food and agricultural produce characterized by organoleptic excellence, has supervised all activities of economic and commercial development for the Al Jufrah dates.
Experts from the Foundation, in collaboration with the producers, have drafted the quality parameters in order to select dates of excellence; they have published “Desert Dates” and a documentary film of the oases and on Libyan dates; and they organized the participation of Libyan date producers to events promoted by the Slow Food association (Terra Madre and Salone Internazionale del Gusto, in Turin, in 2010).

Project implementation

The methodological approach followed during the implementation of the project is based on the direct participation of all stakeholders throughout the date-production chain, addressing each of the crucial stages. From the growing to the marketing.
The aim of this involvement is to ensure a “vertical” integration and synergy, from the farmer tending the trees through to the end stages of the chain. And also to achieve a “horizontal” integration and synergy by promoting and strengthening associations among producers, to benefit from joint management of production and commercial activities. The model, taken as a reference in this process, was the experience in Italy – and especially in Tuscany – in the promotion of typical local products (IGP and DOC/DOP), where the goal is to enhance both the product and the entire area, safeguarding the traditional territory and its culture, as well as promoting rural tourism.

The operative strategy of the Project is based on the following points:
  • Production and guarantee of quality dates through:
    • production codes of conduct, drawn up in collaboration with the producers, that become binding regulations to ensure consistently high quality
    • homogeneity and quality of the end product
    • respect for traditional production methods through the use of low environmental impact agricultural practices
    • establishment of a collective brand
  • Promotion of the geographical region
  • Protection of agro-biodiversity
  • Reorganization of the date-production chain in the Al Jufrah Region, devoting special attention to production aspects and to product quality control