"Production of dates in Israel goes up every year"

Upcoming crops look promising, the reason is that growers pruned their orchards so that trees had fewer branches than in past years, that means that the tree's resources are spread among fewer dates, explains Avi Dagul from Field Produce Marketing.

"The result is a crop that will likely feature bigger fruit. Volume will be the same as that of last year, or even larger, due to plantings that have kept with the trend of increasing every year by about 15 percent.  We will have about 5,000 hectares of palms this year," says the founder & CEO of the Israeli company. "Last year we had about 4,500 hectares. Production of dates in Israel goes up every year, and I believe in the Arava area they will produce more of the Medjool type."

For Medjool dates, it's Israel, California, and South Africa, and South Africa has their season before ours," says Dagul. "There is a little bit of production in Jordan, but only small quantities. Tunisia produces mainly Deglet Nour dates, and though there are experimental plantings of Medjool there and in Morocco, it will be another six or seven years before there's any real production of Medjool in these countries. As a result, there's little competition for Israel in the European market."

The Medjool date harvest won't take place until September the earliest, but harvest of the Barhi date will commence in about two weeks.

"The Barhi date looks nice, and we are also expecting big sizes of it," tells Dagul. "Although it's a good item, there's not much of it.  We will ship only about 150 tons of Barhi, and Israel as a whole will ship about 2,500 tons this season."

While the Medjool remains the most popular variety its export volume is still small compared to other commodities. Only about 15,000 tons of Medjool dates are exported every year. The annual export volume of the Bonbon date, which is being harvested early and famous for its juiciness and large size, is only about 300 tons, most of which is sold to French customers. Still, even with these volumes, Israel remains the main exporter of Bonbon Medjool dates to Europe.


Originally Published: Fresh Plaza Website: July 27, 2015.