Israel is set to harvest some 34,000 tonnes of dates this year, with the majority of fruit expected to be shipped to key export markets across the globe.
Of the crop, 10 per cent is set to go to the domestic processing market, while the remaining crop is split between the export markets of Europe, which takes on about 40 per cent of fresh volumes, and both North and South America, which imports 60 per cent of the fresh crop.
Of the 34,000 tonnes forecast for production, some 23,000 will be Medjool varieties, with over 3,000 tonnes of Bahri and smaller quantities of Deglet Noor and Hayani.
Exports are carried out directly by dedicated date exporters such as Hdiklaim (with 55 per cent market share) and Field Produce Marketing (about 10 per cent share). Of the general fresh produce exporters, Mehadrin has a market share of over 20 per cent.
The country grows dates from around 4,600ha of production area – 2,000ha in the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea regions, 1,300ha in the northern valleys and 1,150 in the Arava region.
Harvesting in the Arava region finished at the end of October, with this season's yield up 20 per cent on last year, with volumes expected to reach 7,500 Mt – a figure that includes 800 tonnes of organically-certified produce.