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Sweet Success: A Guide to Launching a Lucrative Dates Company in India

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Imported Dates in India

 Starting a Successful Dates Company in India: Essential Insights

Dates are a beloved and nutritious fruit, enjoyed globally for their sweet taste and health benefits. Predominantly cultivated in tropical regions, particularly in the Arabic world, dates hold a special place in many cultures and cuisines. In India, the demand for dates is substantial, making it a promising venture for entrepreneurs looking to tap into this lucrative market. Here’s what you need to know to start a successful dates company in India.

 Understanding the Market Potential

India is a massive market with a population exceeding 1.3 billion people. Despite being a significant producer of dates, local production falls short of meeting the domestic demand. The country imports over 57,000 metric tons of dates annually, and this number is steadily increasing. Events like Ramadan see a spike in consumption, with over 385,000 tons consumed during this period alone.

 Key Varieties of Dates

The Indian market is flooded with various types of dates, primarily sourced from Iran, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia. Four main varieties dominate the market:

- Zahedi (Iraq): Popular for its appealing colour, taste, and affordability.

- Mazafati (Iran): Known for its rich, moist texture.

- Burni (Saudi Arabia): Favored for its unique flavour.

- Deglet Nour (Algeria and Tunisia): While delicious, its higher cost limits its demand.

 Importing Dates: Step-by-Step Guide

1. Obtain an Importer Exporter Code (IEC): This is essential for trading and is issued by the regional Joint DGFT.

2. Legal Clearance: Dates are classified as 'legal items' for import, meaning no special import license is required.

3. File a Bill of Entry: Include details such as quantity, value, country of origin, and other transaction specifics.

4. Pay Import Duty: The current import duty for dates is 26.85%, necessary for clearing the goods through customs.

 Storage Solutions for Dates

Proper storage is crucial to maintaining the quality and taste of dates. Here are three effective storage methods:

- Room Temperature: Suitable for semi-dry varieties like sukkhari and khidri. Store in airtight containers to keep them fresh for a couple of months.

- Refrigeration: Ideal for storing dates like Medjool and Kholas for up to six months. Maintain a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius in sealed containers.

- Freezing: For long-term storage, freeze dates at -18 degrees Celsius. Proper airtight packaging is essential to protect against moisture and humidity.

 Selling Dates in India

Dates have a wide market across India, with heightened demand during Ramadan. Key markets include Delhi, Lucknow, West Bengal, Kerala, Srinagar, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. Establishing a strong distribution network in these regions can significantly boost your business.


Starting a dates business in India is a promising venture given the high demand and the country’s position as a major importer. By understanding the market, selecting the right varieties, and following proper import and storage procedures, you can establish a successful dates company. With India’s vast market and growing appetite for dates, your business is poised for success.


importing dates from saudi arabia
APEDA Report - India's import statistics of Dates from Saudi Arabia

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