POTENTIAL OF DATE PALM PLANTATION IN AFAR REGION, ETHIOPIA AND ITS MARKET
The Afar Region in Ethiopia is home to a vast area of virgin land that is suitable for date plantation. The region is located within the Danakil depression and experiences the harshest climate in Ethiopia with temperatures reaching up to 50°C. The area is occupied by the Afar people who are primarily semi-nomadic. Historically the Afars have established date farms in areas around the Awsa delta and Afambo region. These farms produce date fruits mainly for local consumption. The main source of irrigation in the Afar Region is from the Awash River. The Awash River runs from the Ethiopian highlands, fed by a number of tributaries, through the Afar desert land. Producing date fruit in the Afar region will have a mutual benefit for both the investor and the local population. There is currently a shortage of supply for date fruit in Ethiopia where the demand for the produce is at its peak during the month of Ramadan. Current statistics show about a third of the Ethiopian population to be muslims, creating a large market for date fruits locally. Labour cost in Ethiopia is significantly low compared with date producing countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is therefore attractive to produce locally at lower cost to meet this high demand throughout Ethiopia and possibly beyond. Date fruit contains essential vitamins and minerals that are required for a balanced diet. Setting up date plantations in this region in sufficiently large quantity will ensure a source of date fruit for the local community. This has the potential to improve the health and food security for the nomadic Afar community. Jobs that will be filled by local farmers will create a source of income and can help develop and transfer the whole community as a whole. Large scale date plantation in this desert land will have a significant contribution towards the fight against climate change.
Hussen, A.H. (2010). POTENTIAL OF DATE PALM PLANTATION IN AFAR REGION, ETHIOPIA AND ITS MARKET. Acta Hortic. 882, 43-48