Producers of dates from Elche join forces so that the local product can reach more commercial areas, be profitable and talk about it more to show off the heritage that the city has with its historic Palm Grove. For this reason, several producers have created an association, which they presented this Wednesday at the City Hall, to take a step further in the professionalization of the sector with a view to the commercialization of fresh dates, taking into account that for years the imported ones that arrive of countries of the African continent for being cheaper and less perishable when coming already dry.
Precisely this association of producers has as one of its missions to obtain the Denomination of Origin of the Elche product and for this reason they point out that it is necessary to investigate new techniques so that the Elche date has a longer shelf life and therefore the commercials lose their fear of bet on it without scoring losses without the only factor influencing the purchase is the price.
The date that comes from other countries can be cheaper, they review, “but you have to change the chip so that the customer goes to the greengrocer and wants dates from Elche,” added Miguel Ángel Sánchez, president of the entity and representative, too, of the collective of palm trees in the city.
In this sense, the entity demands that the City Council and the Department of Agriculture row in the same direction to guarantee the investigation of the date, that these lines are activated, that there is political will and that all channels such as the Cátedra del Palmeral are used to discuss the future of this product, they point out.
In line, they urge that the administration continue to press for the Palm Tree Institute to start up and that at the regional level it also encourages a change in the marketing of the Elche date. One of the pillars for the group would be the training of entrepreneurs to know how to successfully market the date.
From the Department of Rural Development they support the initiative and Felip Sánchez, as mayor of the area, points out that “there is a way ahead to advance in how to get the unique product, how to improve its conservation.” He also recalls that the World Heritage Site requires that the agricultural uses of the palm tree be recovered, but the association warns that the transmission of knowledge between generations is being lost.
One of the collective’s missions is to develop an inventory of high-quality date palms to narrow the line of work when selecting and propagating the best varieties, since they indicate from the entity that there are hundreds of specimens in Elche that do not they have had the opportunity to multiply with the help of technology.
On the other hand, they intend to promote the consumption of dates, to promote the cultivation of date palms in the municipal term or that they may be present in the management bodies of the Palm grove that there are both at the local, regional or national level. The association wants this union to be a meeting point with producers from other regions. The final objective would be to indicate that this Elche fruit can be positioned internationally.
In crisis due to the lack of generational change
The Elche date producers association points out that the sector is in crisis because there is a lack of generational change as it is a trade that does not end up being attractive to the youngest for not currently ensuring profitability. In this way, there are families that have dedicated themselves to agriculture and have abandoned the practice of picking dates, and on the other hand the plantations are more dispersed.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.