Desert Fruit Namibia’s work impresses Naruseb

WINDHOEK - Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister, Alpheus !Naruseb, is impressed with the achievements of Desert Fruit Namibia (DFN), an exporter of dates.

The minister visited DFN 200km south of Karasburg last Wednesday to familiarise himself with the operations, especially during its peak period of harvesting and packing currently taking place. I keenly observed every operation at DFN and spend time with some of the rising stars of the company who are being groomed to take on the future management of the pack store. I am also impressed with the social structures at DFN which ensure that the worker's children can attend the CrAche and are assisted with schooling, while workers have access to the vegetable garden, butchery and shop, seeing that they are 200km away from the nearest town, said !Naruseb.

Discussions with the company's management revolved around its possible future expansion and the need for continued interaction between the company and the Department of Agriculture. The sustainable use of water drawn from the Orange River, and the state of the river were discussed. This would be critical to ensure the expansion was possible. The requirement for continued healthy collaboration between the ministry and the company was confirmed to ensure the ease of exports through the borders of Namibia. The minister also spend time with the local government organisations that interact and support the development and commercial activities at DFN and met with representatives of the investors behind the organisation. He pledged continued support to the company given its commitment to continued strong growth and the expected increase in harvesting to above 1000 tonnes over the next two seasons as well as improving quality. This will make Desert Fruit one of the premiere fruit exporters of Namibia while providing a valuable injection of income into the economy.

Charles Edmonds, Technical Farm Manager of DFN said: We were extremely honoured and excited with the visit by our line minister and ensured that he had a chance to experience every aspect of Desert Fruit Namibia, ranging from observations in the field, reviewing the pack store - the biggest of its kind in Southern Africa - and visiting our CrAche. Our employees expressed their gratitude that their hard work has been recognised by the highest authority in our country.

Desert Fruit was established in 2005. The first date palms were planted in 2006 and 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 four varieties of date palms will produce an expected over 1,000 tonnes of export quality date fruits from the current plantation. Desert Fruit is the only farm to actively farm and market speciality variants including Zamli, Khallas and Barhi in the Southern Hemisphere. The company proudly employs up to 450 staff made up of permanent and seasonal workers during peak season.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia