Joint-venture agreements to be signed this year for new date farms in South Africa and Namibia

Saudi-based Bateel to expand farming operations into Africa

The Saudi-based date connoisseur Bateel has revealed plans to expand the farming side of the business onto the international market. The company’s CEO, Dr Ata Atmar, told Arabian Business the company is hoping to tie up joint venture deals to operate farms in South Africa and Namibia, with a view to planting later this year. It will mark the first time the company will farm outside of the region.

Dr Atmar: “We’ve been looking at it for three or four years to just find the right partners to work with and the right location. I think we’re close to that. Within this year we will be in a position to announce and start planning.”

Currently, Bateel is able to harvest 4,000 tonnes of dates every year from six farms in Saudi Arabia, just to the north of the capital Riyadh. Harvesting takes place once-a-year around October with the dates sold throughout the next 12 months. Dr Atmar said the expansion into Africa will allow for a second harvest and help secure the future of the business.

The company is currently active in 14 countries through its retail outlets and duty free offerings in airports.

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