Palm trees can thrive in cooler areas

Basra farmer cultivates palm trees in Mosul and Dohuk, defying conventional beliefs

MOSUL — Ibrahim Al-Tamimi, a 56-year-old transplant from Basra, is upending conventional wisdom surrounding the possibility of successfully cultivating palm trees in the north’s cooler climate.

For years, residents of Mosul and the Kurdistan Region have believed their cooler climates rendered palm cultivation impractical. Al-Tamimi, however, has successfully grown over 10,000 date palms across Nineveh governorate, proving doubters wrong.

Unlike southern Iraq, Mosul experiences moderately wet, cooler winters. Yet, since arriving in 2006, Al-Tamimi has transformed the landscape, planting palms not only in Nineveh but also venturing into neighboring Duhok, reaching as far as the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing with Turkey.

Al-Tamimi’s success stems from a combination of factors. He draws on generations of knowledge passed down through his family, operating the Al-Basrah nursery in Mosul’s Al-Karamah neighborhood. Crucially, his methods demonstrate that palms can thrive under varied conditions with proper care, including pollination, watering, and fertilization.

Al-Tamimi’s efforts extend beyond Nineveh. He has introduced palm varieties like Khastawi, Barhi, Bream, Khadrawi, and Awaidi to the region, and these have flourished even in Duhok’s cooler climate, specifically in areas like Batifa, Ibrahim Khalil, Zakho, and central Duhok. “The success of palms here makes them one of the best investment projects in agriculture for the region,” Al-Tamimi noted.

His dedication has further extended to beautification projects. Recently, he collaborated with the Mosul Municipality to plant 39 palms in the city ahead of a spring festival. This follows the planting of 500 palms over the past two years in the streets of Tel Kaif district, which even yielded fruit last year.

Al-Tamimi’s expertise is in high demand. Initially advising neighbors on palm care, he now receives daily requests for pollination services during the peak season of March and April. The planting window itself runs from February to June, with a pause during the hottest months before harvests begin in September and continue through November.