Khalas harvest starts. Fresh date exports expected to carry on for six to eight weeks
The date producer in the Karas region, Desert Fruit Namibia, has just started picking its exciting new cultivar, the Khalas date, for fresh export by airfreight to consumers in the Middle East and the Far East.
Announcing the result of their new foray into the date market, Desert Fruit said Khalas is a staple for both producers and consumers in the Middle East.
Elaborating on the unique qualities that set Khalas apart, Desert Fruit Managing Director, Seth Holmes, said “Traditionally, Khalas is a staple in the date markets as a naturally dried date. We have been able to develop this date as a fresh and Rutab variant.”
Rutab refers to one of the four defined stages through which fresh dates ripen.
“The intense heat, dry conditions and granite soils of southern Namibia have allowed the fruit to develop high sugars and a caramel flavour. This has proven a winning recipe as we are getting orders from the fresh date markets as an alternative to the traditional fresh varietal, Barhi which is set to come off the trees in the next three weeks,” Homes continued.
The Khalas date is a sought-after delicacy when consumed fresh or half rutab, but this also implies that the window to get them to the market is very limited.
Desert Fruit’s technical manager, Charles Edmonds, added “We are confident that the date will make an impact in the market. The technical team has been concentrating on size, quality and taste over the last couple of years and has been working with some of the best minds in the date grower world and the collaboration has been excellent.”
Desert Fruit is known for its high quality dates, usually exported after it has been dried on the farm. Tapping into the market for fresh dates presented the producer with a unique opportunity to enter a lucrative niche market in addition to the traditional Barhi or Medjool markets.
Caption: Desert Fruit farm worker, Wilhelm Andreas, delicately holds one a very promising bunch of Khalas dates which are now in harvest and will be exported fresh during the next two months to markets in the Middle East and the Far East.