Karas Medjool Dates originate from Southern Namibia and the name was derived from the Karas region of which the town of Karasburg is 120 km from our Haakiesdoorn date farm on the banks of the Orange River. In 2008, ZZ2, inspired by date farming in the arid deserts of Israel, joined forces with Namibian and Israeli partners with experience in the cultivation of dates and started to plant Medjool date palm trees on Haakiesdoorn.
It was the vision of longstanding partner of ZZ2, Jehegskal Dagan, from the worldwide Israel-founded nursery, Hishtil, to farm Medjool dates in Southern Africa. But it was not until the 20 000ha remote Haakiesdoorn farm was identified, that the project got momentum. Together with a Namibian partner with experience of local conditions, Jehegskal and ZZ2 planted the first date trees in 2010, resulting in a learning curve regarding cultivation methods. In 2012 a breakthrough was made when trees were acquired from a dedicated nursery able to provide healthy sustainable tissue culture trees.
The first harvest of the original plantings was in 2015. In 2017, a substantial amount was harvested for the local market. The first export of 60 tonnes of Karas Medjool Dates is planned for the 2018 harvest and is already in high demand.
Date production is extremely labour intensive. It is estimated that when the project reaches full production, around 200 people will be employed on a full-time basis. This will give a major boost to the local economy.