Climatic Conditions Encourage the Expansion of Date Growing

Increase in the growing areas of date palms in mid-Arava region
September 8, 2017
Climatic Conditions Encourage the Expansion of Date Growing (Enlarge)

The recent increase in the growing areas of date palms in mid-Arava region is supported by data available from the region's agricultural committee that show that the Arava had 400 hectares planted with the high quality dates of the Medjool variety in 2014 while this area had risen in 2017 to 702 hectares in the mid-Arava region. 
The outstanding varieties in the Israeli market are Medjool, Dekel Noor, Hayani and Barhi.  In Israel in general the date palm orchards cover an area of 2,000 hectares, and the annual crop comes to 15,000 tons.


Tami Barkan, who chairs the agricultural committee for the Mid-Arava region attributes this expansion to a number of factors, of which the excellent desert weather of the Arava region with its high temperatures and dry conditions is first and foremost. The many hours of sunshine, high temperatures and a dry climate all contribute to the ideal growing conditions, which have led to this year's expected crop of around 6,000 tons of superior quality dates, most of which are designated for export. 



The second factor encouraging the move to increased date production is economic as Barkan points out. "The investment required for establishing a farm based on growing vegetables, and other similar crops comes to more than a million Israeli Shekels, most of which is the farmer's own capital, and this compares to the significantly lower investment needed to grow dates. Another economic advantage is that the farmers can seek additional employment to earn a living, since the date tree only begins to yield fruit in the fourth year and the size of the harvest gradually increases until reaching full production in the eight year."

 Eyal Bloom, the mayor of the Mid-Arava Regional Council welcomed this development of new date growing areas as the date palm orchards als present additional opportunities for the Arava region. The increased date growing stands to provide a wider labor distribution across the agricultural calendar.  Thanks to the optimal climatic conditions the dates from the Arava are unaffected by blistering or the separation of the peel from the fruit's flesh, a factor which lends the crops from the Arava a significant advantage.  This advantage is significant for broadening the export markets from the traditional ones mainly in United States and Europe, to this year's exports to markets in India and China!

The transition from vegetable farms to a wide range of different crops in the Mid-Arava region is a most welcome development in an area where griculture is a major source of employment with about 500 farms covering an area of 2,800 hectares that in addition to dates already produce about 60% of the total exports of fresh vegetables from Israel.      

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