“Because of our isolation and dry atmosphere, we can produce a lot of crops without disease,” said Stuart Smith from the Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI). Dates is one of them.
Date farming in Australia yielded a lifted 300 % from last year’s harvest and their main market was the middle east. There can be more business expected and the small but burgeoning date farm business in Australia can really grow manifold with increasing demand posing a single threat; imports from Africa and the Middle East that could be cheap.
Parts of Australia, due to their dry arid weather and isolation form the perfect belt to nurture date farms, sown there by Afghan Cameleers migrated years ago. These date palm have become popular due to their fresh and quality yield. They are also only handful of them throughout the country. But with encouragement and policy support the industry can really come into its own.
The AZRI is looking at changing this in the date industry’s favor. It houses more than 100 varieties of dates. There may be some hiccups in this journey and one of them come from Biosecurity Australia, which is currently considering allowing fresh dates to be imported from Africa and the Middle East, riling up date growers who have benefitted in both northern and southern parts of the country.
One of the growers draws attention to the potential of the home-grown industry, “Dates are now being recognized for their health benefits … so we are getting a lot of interest from health food people. There is a lot of potential to grow the industry, there are a few growers around Australia now just finding their feet, [so there is] potential for dates to be growing around each Indigenous community”.