Medjool dates are becoming more and more popular among mainstream European consumers. People buy them because of their flavor or as part of a vegan or low sugar diet. Also, dates are indispensable for many people, during religious holidays such as Ramadan.
According to Milco Rikken, the date is becoming an increasingly important product for Jordan’s exports: “As you might know, some of the best dates are grown in the Jordan Valley, the deepest valley in the world. Not surprisingly, date palm cultivation in the valley has been expanding rapidly and is gradually replacing traditional horticultural crops. Exports of Jordanian dates have been booming.”
Rikken states that he’s been involved via the project of the CBI: “I have experienced this rapid growth of the Jordanian date industry at first hand. To support producers in Jordan in doing more business on an international scale, CBI started a multi-year project in 2018, with support from the Jordan Exporters and Producers Association for Fruit and Vegetables (JEPA). Being involved in the program, I got to know the Jordanian exporters as entrepreneurs with a passion for their business and product. It had been a while since I was able to visit Jordan (due to the Covid-situation), but recently I had the chance to see the date companies again.”
Despite the pandemic, Jordan date exporters have invested in new sorting and packing machines for the upcoming season, Rikken says: “In the month of October, the sector is always brimming with activity, because it is harvest season. It was remarkable to see how many companies have developed in recent years. Covid crisis or not, several have continued to invest in state-of-the-art sorting and packing machinery, post-harvest procedures, as well as unique packaging designs for the various markets. It was good to see that the vast majority of the exporting companies are nowadays GlobalG.A.P. and BRC certified.”
“Medjool dates offer some pretty interesting properties. So-called fresh dates are picked mature, and are kept for only a few days. However, they can be refrigerated for up to six months, or can also be frozen, to increase their storage life even more. Since this way Medjool dates can be stored for longer periods of time, it is an ideal product to sell from stock. Their long storage and shelf life makes dates a rewarding and low risk addition to the range.” Rikken concludes.
Get to know Jordan’s leading date exporters personally through the CBI Virtual B2B Platform.