Advanced technology to improve productivity at Date farm
New technology in the form of Date Cage Harvesting, attached to new Manitou telehandlers has been revealed by Desert Fruit Namibia, a company that produces dates and bulbs on the banks of the Orange River.
This new equipment has been designed and implemented in association with a local company, Expert Mining Solutions.
Managing Director of Desert Fruit Namibia Seth Holmes said, that the new cages can carry up to 6 people and hold more than one ton of produce before needing an offload. “Not only do these cages carry more weight, enabling us to harvest more with each lift, they are also equipped with lights for night harvesting to avoid the day-time heat while guaranteeing a fresher product,” he explained.
While Anton Ferreira, Managing Director of Expert Mining Solutions Namibia said this technology has not been used in Namibia before and they are thus proud of the achievement and milestone moment for Desert Fruit Namibia. “Date trees can reach up to 20 meters in height and most trees over 10 years of age cannot be reached with a ladder, therefore this equipment was designed to reach a maximum height of 18 meters while ensuring the safety of the operator and cage workers,” he emphasized.
He informed that electrical and hydraulic closing operations, which are one of the main features guarantees that controls exercised over the speed of operation and safety of handling.
Desert Fruit Namibia said that new innovative technology and designs are needed to support the expanding business, which in turn contributes toward the GDP of the country, employment creation and long-term sustainability. They further invested in training and the enhancement of the skills base of workers, were six operators have been trained on the new equipment, while all cage workers have undergone safety training and are issued with protective clothing and harness equipment.
Desert Fruit was established in 2005 and the first date palms were planted in 2006 and the farm is one of only a handful of date producers in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Farm has 22.000 date palms of varying ages and in full production the 5 varieties of date palms will produce an expected total of over 3 000 tons export quality date fruit. Desert Fruit is the only farm to actively farm and market seciality variant including Zamli, Khallas and Barhi in the Southern Hemisphere.