During the last January to March harvesting season, Desert Fruit Namibia produced high quality Barhi dates that have recently been exported to Abu-Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait, Cambodia, Indonesia, Maldives, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Switzerland as well as the royalty houses in the Emeritus. Charles Edmonds, farm technical manager at Desert Fruit Namibia, was pleased with the harvest in 2018. He elaborated: “Barhi is a unique date eaten in a fresh state before it is naturally dried. It is regarded as a delicacy in the Middle and Far East where it is more widely known. Desert Fruit Namibia produces three different varieties of dates which can be eaten fresh and these must therefore reach the target market and customer within a time-span of 72 hours.” Most date connoisseurs let the unique yellow Barhi date dry halfway naturally to enjoy most of the sweet, crisp and caramel flavours. The trees start flowering in August and are harvested from late January through to March. Charles explains: “Although the 2018 tonnage was small, the quality was superbly high. We are proud of the harvest, as the technical advances that we made use of were not only experienced in the farming of the dates, but also in the packing and processing of the 2018 harvest. Our team has gained invaluable experience over the years and has been trained consistently to make the most of the harvest. Through great personal development and hard work, they have assisted us in achieving this bumper harvest.”
Technological advances will be capitalised on even more in 2019 to allow a growth in tonnage to meet the market demand. Desert Fruit Namibia is one of only two farms in the Southern Africa, which delivers fresh dates to the Northern Hemisphere market – out of season. “This makes the company and Namibia special and unique and puts us on the world map – albeit in a smaller market,” adds Charles.
Seth Holmes, the company’s managing director, thanked all the Namibian partners involved, especially the government agencies, including cross-border controls and Agro-Marketing And Trade Agency for the great service, which contributed towards the fact that the product reached the customer as fresh as possible.
Desert Fruit was established in 2005 with the first date palms planted in 2006. The farm is one of only a handful of date producers in the Southern Hemisphere. Desert Fruit has 22,000 date palms of varying ages. In full production, the five varieties of date palms are expected to produce over 3,000 tonnes of export quality date fruit. Desert Fruit is the only farm to actively farm and market speciality variants including Zamli, Khallas and Barhi in the Southern Hemisphere. The company employs 450 staff made up of permanent and seasonal workers during peak season.