Photographer:Abdulla AL-Mushaifri
Continent: Asia
Country: Qatar
Project Title: Tabseal (The Omani Dates Harvest )
Project Continent: Asia
Project Country: Oman
Nominated By: Bengin Ahmad
Seconded By: Silke Hullmann,

the project is about harvesting palm dates trees in my home country the Sultanate of Oman known as (AL Tabseal) in the local language, where a certain method is followed for harvesting it, which is a method exclusive to Omanis only. It has been inherited through generations and its considered part of the authentic Omani history. All members of the farmers’ family, the elderly, children and women participate in the harvest without exception in a beautiful scene that reflects the unity of the Omani family. The harvesting mechanism continues throughout the day, from morning until sunset, for a period of three weeks in the summer season, starting in July of each calendar year. In this project, I will explain this mechanism in order to introduce an unknown part of my country to the world.

The Cutting (AL Kharaf)

The first stage of the harvest begins with a man ascending to the top of the palm tree and cutting the trunks of the dates and another person holding the rope which is used as an elevator to lower the trunk of the tree to preserve its safety from hitting the ground which spoils the dates this is the first step of collecting the dates as known in the local language AL Kharaf while the process of using the rope called AL Mearad

Harvest collection

After cutting the dates trunks from the palm tree they are collected in one place where the task of cutting the trunks lasts long hours of the day This duration depends on the number of palm trees the efficiency and speed of the people who work with that task in addition to the availability of moderate weather which is mostly in the summer amid high heat

The Pickers crew (AL Rouqat)

Mostly young children are assigned the task of picking up the fallen and rotten dates from palm trees and isolating them with individual baskets which later on used to feed the animals they raise This stage called in the local language AL Rouqat

Pertinence With The Earth

A picture of Sheikh Muhammad Al-Subhi working on his farm for more than 50 years after inheriting this profession from his father and grandfather as its shows his love for his farm while he still working on it till today

The Tools

A picture showing the personal tools that are used in cutting the trunks of palm trees machete and the climbing belt used in climbing palm trees Al-Saw in the local language

Pulling The Dates ( Al Sahel)

After collecting the palm trunks the task of pulling the dates from the trunks begins Al Sahel in which family members women children and the elderly participate and the dates are collected with baskets to be transported to the oven Turkba in the local language

The Oven (Al-Turkba)

Al-Turkba is the oven to which the dates are transferred to as it is mostly built of clay and in the middle is the hole of the boiler where the dates are fried within a hot water for an hour until they ripened and they call it Al-Fagour in the local language

Drying Stage (Al-Mistah)

After cooking the dates in the oven it is transferred to Al-Mistah in the local language which is a flat area of land where the dates are spread in order to dry it using the sun s rays The drying period depends on the strength of the sun s rays between two to three days

The Harvest of (Al-Fagour)

After several days the dates also known in this stage Al-Fagour in the local language are collected and purified manually to ensure that they are dry Also the dates are carefully examined to ensure that there are no crusts on them which means that they were not cooked in the correct way during frying and excluded from collection

Storing & Exporting

In the last stage dried and good dates are stored in warehouses and later sold to food companies that use its ingredients in many foods and medical products