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Dates world productions


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Dates world productions

  1. 1. DATES’ MARKET1. BACKGROUNDDate production is a world agricultural industry producing about 5.4 million tonnes of fruit per year(FAO Trade statistics; 2003). The date fruit, which is produced largely in the hot ad arid region ofthe Middle East and North Africa, is marketed all over the world as a high value confectionery andfruit crop and remains an extremely important subsistence crop in most of the desert regions.Date Palm is one of the oldest plants cultivated by man and its origin is said to be either fromMesopotamia or the Gulf region. In the Gulf region, date culture and its basic technical practiceshave been known at least since 2500 BC as proved by ancient texts.The date palm has historically been connected with the sustaining of human life in many of the hotand barren parts of the ancient world and it has become an integral part of the culture and traditionof the people of these regions. The date palm has provided mankind for thousands of years withessential nutrients. Dates are mentioned in the religious books of the Old Testament and the Koran,and are particularly the favorite food for the Muslims all over the world during the Holy Month ofRamadhan.The date palm plays an important role in the ecology of arid and desert areas of the world; this treeis, in fact, irreplaceable in irrigable desert lands. It provides protection to inrer-crops from theharshness of the climate (heat, wind and even cold weather) and their fronds are alternative meansof reducing the damage from sand storms and wind erosion. Furthermore, date palm is very tolerantto high temperatures, strong winds, light frost, soil and water salinity, and high pH. In areas of highradiation the date palm produces a microclimate that is favourable for undergrowth production of arange of crops. Hence, the date forms the framework for a production system. In this context, datepalms flourish where other fruit production would be marginal at best, which has perhapscontributed to the producer’s special affection for the date palm and the habitat created by it. Thedate palm and its by-products offer an extra income and provide work to a considerable number ofunemployed, landless and poor peasants.In view of high nutritive value and universal appeal of the fruit, dates have been celebrated bypoets.They are rich in carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins A. They are also fat free and do not containcholesterol. 1
  2. 2. This study is organized in the following sections.In the first section, the demand for dates has been analysed, considering different countries aroundthe world. In the second section, the supply side has been studied. The main varities of datesexisting and exported are presented in section three. In the fourth and fifth sections, date productionin Jordan is illustrated, showing potentialities and obstacles to export development. Someconclusions and suggestions are reported in the final section.2. DATE DEMANDPeak season for date consumption is during the month of Ramadan. Entire Muslim communitiesaround the world, currently numbering 1.6 billion people, are loyal consumers of dates.Consumption is also quite high during Christmas. Similarly, the fruit enjoys enormous significanceon the occasion of Divali and such festivals in other religions.In Europe and North America, the fruit is particularly preferred during the dark winter months.Usual sales of dates are spread to a period from October to April. Dates have found their way intosweets, confectionery, chocolates, baking products, preservatives, salads, sauces, and breakfastcereals. Dates also have bulk industrial uses. With advancements in food technology, newer andvery useful date products are being developed, indicating fruits bright future.2.1 Date demand in European UnionEuropean Union (EU) is a key market for date exporters. Although the EU imports of datesrepresent only 10 percent of world imports in volume, they account for some 30 percent in value.This reflects the fact that EU import prices for dates are comparatively much higher than the worldaverage.France, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Spain account for 85 percent of total EU imports ofdates in volume. The variations in net imports over the last decade show two distinct phases: duringthe first half of the 1990s imports tended to be relatively stable. On the other hand, the second halfof the 1990s witnessed a moderate albeit steady growth. This rising trend is particularly visible forSpain, Germany, Italy and France. In the United Kingdom imports have not really risen above theiraverage of the early 1990s if the exceptional imports of 1999 are not taken into account.France is the leading market for dates in the EU. Its main suppliers are Tunisia and Algeria, whichaccount for over 85 percent of its date imports. Frances gross imports have increased steadily, 2
  3. 3. rising from an annual average of 18 600 tonnes in 1990-92 to 22 400 tonnes in 1998-2000. It is theworlds largest importer of deglet nour (18 000 tonnes in 1998). Imports of mejool are growing.The United Kingdom is the second largest EU market for dates and consumes large quantities ofcommon dates. During the Christmas period it imports deglet nour packed in 227g glove boxes.Supermarkets have the biggest share for date distribution, with demands for high quality and lowprices that some importers consider unrealistic. Recently introduced, mejool dates are selling welland at high prices. Their sales are increasing rapidly due to their distribution by supermarket chains.Italy is the third largest EU market for dates together with Germany. Imports of dates haveincreased from some 5 000 tonnes in the early 1990s to over 6 000 tonnes in recent years. The mainvariety is deglet nour and over 80 percent of the dates are sourced from Tunisia.Due to the rise in incomes in eastern Germany, date consumption is on a slow rise. Germanyprimarily imports common dates. These are packed in 200g-ravier and sold by supermarkets atdiscount prices. However, consumption of higher quality dates (such as deglet nour) tends toincrease.Spain is the fifth largest date market in Europe, with imports at 5 300 tonnes in 2000. However, it isthe country where imports are growing at the highest rate. As in France, Spanish importers favournatural deglet nour in 5-kg bulk over processed dates. Common dates are packed in 250g ravier buttheir consumption is slowly decreasing. There is also a small market for the hayani variety.Denmark and Sweden have increased their imports since the mid 1990s. Although these markets aresmall, they are dynamic and consumers have a high purchasing power. They mainly importcommon dates. Ireland’s import are also growing, although from a very small base.Conversely, Belgium, the Nederlands, Austria, Portugal, Greece and Finland show no clear trend.2.2 Date demand in Latin-AmericaLatin America imports usually reduced quantity of dates, especially maghrebine re-export fromSpain. Imports prices are high enough to attract european exporters and Israel, that attempt apromotional campain on this market. Despite the high deficit of this market, represented by importweakness of some countries compared to a large muslim population (dates’ consumption perMuslim person is lower than 70 grammes in Argentine and 30 grammes in Caraibes), thegeographic dispertion of latin american markets constitutes a big obstacle to exports’ development. 3
  4. 4. 2.3 Date demand for livestock alimentationAccording to official estimates (FAO), some dates’ producers countries use dates for livestockalimentation in a high proportion: more than 70% of United Arab Emirates production, that ingeneral has a mediocre quality, from 20 to 25 % for Maroc and Iraq.The use of dates for livestock alimentation is considered as a valorisation of waste of productionunsuited to human consumption within traditional oasis cultivation (essential to fertilitypreservation). Because of their high energetic qualities, and then because of their high zootechnicalqualities, dates are also commerce object between differentes oasis.3. DATE SUPPLYDates are cultivated mainly in warmer regions of Africa, Middle East and Asia. The fruit is alsogrown in some parts of Europe and the USA. Global production of this delicious fruit stood at 5.46million metric tonnes in 2003. Egypt (1102 thousand tonnes), Iran (900 thousand tonnes), SaudiArabia (712 thousand tonnes), Pakistan (550 thousand tonnes), Iraq (400 thousand tonnes), Algeria(370 thousand tonnes), UAE (318 thousand tonnes), Oman (260 thousand tonnes), Sudan (177thousand tonnes), Libya (132 thousand tonnes), China (110 thousand tonnes) and Tunisia (107thousand tonnes) are the "top twelve" date producing countries in the world.Algeria and Tunisia are the EUs main suppliers. These two countries mainly export the deglet nourvariety. They also ship small quantities of common dates (kenta, alligh, and kouat alligh).Tunisia is the world-leading producer of deglet nour. It possesses approximately 50 percent of theworlds deglet nour palm trees. The official production was 107 000 tonnes for all varieties, ofwhich about two third are deglet nour (Fruitrop 2001). Significant investments in modern degletnour plantations and an aggressive marketing strategy have led to a steady increase in exports.While exports ranged between 15 000 and 20 000 tonnes in the first half of the 1990s, they wereabove 25 000 tonnes in 2000 and even reached a record level of 27 000 tonnes in 2001. Tunisia hasbeen the main beneficiary of the rise in EU imported quantities. However, the value of exports hasnot enjoyed the same growth due to falling export prices.Although Tunisia accounts for only 2 percent of world date production, its share of global exportsin value is 21 percent. It represents 55 percent of EU imports in value. Tunisia exports about thesame quantity of processed and natural dates. The recent liberalization of the export date sector hasled to the emergence of a multitude of smaller exporters. According to some importers, this 4
  5. 5. development has had an adverse effect on prices. Tunisias main clients are, by order of decreasingimportance, France (11 000 to 12 000 tonnes per year, i.e. almost half of its exports to the EU), Italy(over 5 000 tonnes per year), Spain (about 3 500 tonnes), Germany (3 000 tonnes) and the UnitedKingdom (1 200 to 1 300 tonnes).Algeria is the world second largest producer of deglet nour (1 million trees). The official productionin 2000 was 365 000 tonnes for all varieties. Algeria accounts for 17 percent of EU imports invalue. The liberalization and privatisation of the date sector has had a positive impact on exports.Algeria exports more natural dates than processed dates, as there is a lack of processing capacity.The majority of Algerian dates are destined for France. After a period of growth in the early 1990s,Algerias exports to the EU seem to have reached a plateau at some 10 000 tonnes since 1997. Therewas even a marked fall to 7 000 tonnes in 2001. Import prices of Algerian dates have followed thesame declining trend as those of Tunisian dates.Iran has traditionally been the EUs third supplier. However, it took over Algeria as the secondlargest EU supplier in 2001 with over 10 000 tonnes. It is the leading date supplier in the UnitedKingdom, which absorbed some 60 percent of its exports to the EU (the UK imported 6 600 tonnesof Iranian dates in 2001). Its other two largest clients are Germany and Denmark. Iran is the secondlargest date producer in the world with some 900 000 tonnes, just after Egypt. It exports commondates (mozafati, sayer and zahedi) at very low prices. It accounts for 6 percent of EU imports invalue. It has taken advantage of the fall in Iraqs exports after 1991 to increase its shipments toEurope as well as to other regions.Israel produces very small quantities of dates (production was estimated at 9 500 tonnes in 2001).However, its exports to Europe have increased over the past 10 years, reaching 4 300 tonnes in2001. It accounts for 14 percent of EU imports in value. Its main clients are France (1 200 to 1 400tonnes per year in 2000-2001), the UK (700-1000 tonnes), Spain (800-900 tonnes) and Italy (400-700 tonnes). Israel exports the mejool, deglet nour, hayani and bahri varieties. It is the leadingsupplier of mejool and the only supplier of hayani. There are plans to increase mejool production to3 000 tonnes in 2003-2004. Most of producers have diversified into organic production of dates.Israel, such as Tunisia and U.S. (California) export certified organic dates to the Europeancountries.United States dates production is concentrated in California. The output has decreased in recentyears and stood at 16 000 tonnes in 2001. The United States chiefly exports deglet nour and mejooldates to the EU. Their shipments to the EU have been decreasing since 1995, because of the strongcompetition of North African deglet nour. In 2001, US dates export was down to just over 1 000 5
  6. 6. tonnes. Thus, exporters, now, tend to replace deglet nour with mejool, which faces less competitionand fetches higher prices.Pakistan is the worlds fourth largest date producer with over half a million tonnes in 2000. Itexports common dates to Europe and compete directly with Iran on the same markets (mainlyUnited Kingdom, Germany and Denmark). Pakistani supplies to the EU have been relatively stableand low over the late 1990s, ranging between 1 700 and 1 800 tonnes annually. In 2001 they fell to800 tonnes, as Iran increased its market share in the UK, Germany and Denmark.Other suppliers of smaller quantities to the EU include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates,Egypt and Turkey.4. DATE VARIETIES4.1. Common datesCommon date is a term generally used by European traders to designate dates that are not degletnour or mejool. This group includes several varieties such as kenta, alligh, kouat alligh, sayer andzahedi. The United Kingdom and Germany together import approximately 10 000 tonnes ofcommon dates annually.Zahedi variety 6
  7. 7. In Germany, traders are interested in common dates because of the low price. In United Kingdom,the population of Asian origin is thought to have a big influence on the consumption of commondates. These dates are also used by the foodstuff industry in the UK.While EU imports of common dates are significant (about 16 000 tonnes), this quantity has notincreased substantially over the past years. This seems to indicate that demand is shifting towardshigher quality dates such as mejool or deglet nour. Only the foodstuff industry keeps a stabledemand for common dates.4.2. Deglet nour datesImports of the deglet nour date variety are approximately 30 000 tonnes per year. It is the mostpopular variety in EU. Nevertheless there are some differences between South and North Europe.Southern EU countries mainly consume deglet nour dates. Due to their history and culture, France,Spain and Italy have strong trading links with Tunisia and Algeria. Some 90 percent of the degletnour produced in the world is exported from these two countries. The remaining 10 percent isproduced in Israel and the United States. With 25 000 tonnes, the southern EU countries represent85 percent of deglet nour imports. They consume the bulk of natural deglet nour, which is not verypopular in Germany and the United Kingdom where consumers tend to prefer processed dates.As they have less trade relationship with Maghreb countries, the United Kingdom and Germanyimport smaller quantities of deglet nour (some 4 200 tonnes together in 2000). However, it seemsthat deglet nour consumption is increasing.Deglet nour still offers significant opportunities as evidenced by the increase in imports since 1998.Nevertheless, its price has decreased steadily since 1995.4.3. Mejool datesIn Europe, mejool dates have been known since the early 1990s and it is only in the last three tofour years that they have really taken off. They are to be found on the market of the main Europeancountries. Imports of mejool are very low (1 800 tonnes in 1999) but they have been rapidlyincreasing.With approximately 1 800 tonnes per year, and especially an exponential growth, these dates arearousing interest and hopes among importers. On a market in which there is seldom any innovation,the promising beginnings of mejool give some reason to think that, in coming years, it could be amajor product in the range of dates on offer.The United States and Israel today share the European market. The United States is the foremostproducer. Located in California, the palm groves lay mainly in the two areas of Bard Valley, which 7
  8. 8. by itself produces 70 percent of mejool dates, the second area being Coachella Valley. Mejool datesexports rose to approximately 800 tonnes in 1999.Israel offers an interesting alternative to buyers. It guarantees the traceability of products andcontinues to be less expensive by virtue, in particular, of lower transport costs. It is developing itsproduction (2 000 tonnes), mainly in the regions of Eilat and the Dead Sea. As in the case of othervarieties of dates, the marketing of mejool has been entrusted to two companies, Agrexco andHadiklaim. According to these traders, exports to Europe were expected to exceed 1 200 tonnes inthe 1999-2000 season (Eurofruit 1999).Some other countries (e.g. Namibia) have also started producing mejool.This extends from the end of August to the end of November for both Israel and California, whichallows the markets to be supplied from September to May, bearing in mind the possibilities ofkeeping the product under refrigeration.From Israel, imports take place in 20 refrigerated containers containing 1 440 palletised cartons, aswell as collectively by refrigerated truck. Transit time is approximately two weeks. From the UnitedStates, imports - in the case of complete consignments - also take place in 20 or 40 refrigeratedcontainers containing 3 600 palletised cartons. By boat, the transit time is three to four weeks. Otherconsignments primarily take place by air freight, which obviously increases the cost of the product,but does allow greater flexibility of supply.Three sizes are offered: jumbo, large and medium (fancy). In the case of the United States, thejumbo size represents approximately 40 percent of the quantities harvested, while the other twosizes represent approximately 30 percent each.There is not really a specific quality standard for mejool. It normally has its best degree of maturityand full flavour when it turns dark brown, almost black, and soft to the touch.In France, some pallets of processed mejool have been sold and been much appreciated. Generallyspeaking, mejool has a light dusty appearance on the surface of the skin, which is, in fact, the sugarof the date which has been released. The French, used to deglet nour, would rather it was lighterand shinier in appearance. On the other hand, it may display detachment of the skin which renders itrather unattractive. For a quality product, the presence of fruit with detached skin needs to beminimal. Under open-air storage conditions, mejool also tends to sweeten more rapidly than degletnour does as it dries. 8
  9. 9. Medjool varietyMejool stored under positive refrigeration retains all its qualities for six months. It may also befrozen, which extends its keeping and, above all, allows the gap between seasons to be bridged.Dates from the United States are subject to 10.6 percent taxation when they enter the EU. There isexemption from this tax if the product is imported in order to be repackaged. This is what theBritish traders do, to avoid the charge. They import mejool dates in 15 lb. cartons of loose dates andrepackage them using their customers trademark.Packaging intended for re-packers is generally 5 kg or 15 lb. That intended for loose sale is 5 kg.This kind of packaging is produced using quality kraft material and sufficient thickness to avoid anysagging. The carton is generally telescopic with a printed lid which may, like the Bard Valley one,serve as a display. The bottom is of the same quality as the lid. It is covered with a film whichprotects the dates and has a cardboard divider, which prevents the fruit from being compressed inthe course of handling.Only the United Kingdom, through large-scale retailers, has so far succeeded in getting a smallpackage onto the market. In Germany, trials with a 150-g pack were under way in 2000. In France,a 250-g window box is selling sluggishly. On the other hand, the Brousse Vergez company has justcreated a 150-g pack which it calls the Cristal pack, the dual advantage of which is matching qualityto a product of this price and not being very expensive per unit considering its low weight.Prices vary depending on the origin, the manufacturer, the size and the means of transport. While inthe UK the CIF price of a 200g ravier of processed kouat alligh was Euro 1.45/kg in 2000, that ofmejool sold in 5-kg package was Euro 6.37/kg. In Germany and France, the price of mejool wasEuro 6.18/kg and Euro 6.86/kg respectively. Trade in mejool is currently very profitable, as demand 9
  10. 10. seems to outweigh supply. The higher price of mejool is reflected in Figure 11. The United Statesand Israel, the only two countries exporting mejool, enjoy high unit values of imports. The fact thatthis value is rising may be explained by the increasing share of mejool in their exports.The first limit on the development of mejool stems from the low quantities currently produced. Thedirect consequence of this small volume of supply is the high price of the product, which, after thesuccession of margins applied to it within the distribution system and to which taxes are to beadded, reaches the consumer at €13 or 15 per kilo. The second limit on the development of mejoolis the capacity or willingness of large-scale retailers to invest in the product. After all, if mejool is tobe accessible to consumers as a whole, it is essential that it should be available in the departmentsof large hypermarkets and supermarkets. While this appears to be the case in the United Kingdom,it is not in other countries. Germany is up against the high price of the product, which is alien to thementality of discount buyers and do not see the benefit of such an expensive product. In France andSpain, the constraint is the centralization of the decision-making systems of large-scale retailerswhose job is to carry products that sell well and not new products that might sell well. In otherwords, the product will be available in those countries when the traditional retail trade has done itswork of promotion among the largest number of consumers.As consumption stands at present, it seems impossible for an exporter to access the Europeanmarket on his own. He needs a logistical and commercial base in order to be able to supply andinvoice the different outlets and central buying offices. The role of the importer is one which cannotbe ignored. Today it seems that fresh fruit specialists are better equipped to introduce a product intolarge-scale retail. Generally speaking, dried fruit follows a standard referencing channel whosestarting-point is the national central buying office and which goes right down to shop level. Freshfruit can follow a shorter circuit. It is possible for access to regional outlets and even, in some cases,directly to shops. On the other hand, the ideal packaging suited to the fresh fruit department has yetto be found.4.4. Hayani datesThrough its form, texture, taste and storage characteristics, hayani is very distinct from other dates.It is a fresh fruit in its own right. Familiar in Israel, where it is sold practically throughout the year,the marketing of this product in Europe has been undertaken for ten years or so with limited successby the Hadiklaim company. Outside Spain, which takes 700 tonnes, the other European countriesonly take 500 tonnes per year. While all agree on the total import of 1 200 tonnes, it may be that theestimated tonnage for France and Italy is grossly overestimated, while Spain may take more thanthe 700 tonnes reported. 10
  11. 11. The production period is September/October.They are frozen, pitted or unpitted, immediately after harvesting. The fibrous texture of the fruit andits high sugar content allow it to undergo this treatment perfectly and to remain in perfect conditionin terms of appearance and taste. Once it has been thawed, it really does look as though it had justbeen harvested.Hayani dates are exported in a 20 refrigerated container containing nine pallets.There are two sizes, jumbo and standard, but they are not always adhered to.They are mainly imported in a 5 kg carton of loose dates. Consumer packaging is handled directlyby importers, generally distributing 500-g transparent plastic window boxes.The Israeli traders always offer CIF prices. According to the latest information the consultant had,the price of hayani at source was on the decrease.The product is supplied frozen directly to the shop. It is then thawed and put on display chilled,depending on demand. It thus retains a shelf life of approximately 10 days. Legally, the shop isbound to indicate that the product has been thawed.EC legislation provides for the packed products having to show a sell-by date. If the shop issupplied with the frozen product and it thaws it to put it on display, as it would do in the case of theloose product, it is obliged to indicate the sell-by date on each packet. This operation is impossiblein practical terms. It can therefore only accept products which are already marked and thereforeones already thawed ready to be put on display. It can clearly be seen that with window boxpackaging, all the benefits conferred by the frozen product are lost. This becomes very restrictive,since it means the importer has to carry out this marking operation himself. And, above all, itconsiderably reduces the quantities supplied. In the case of fresh products, shops can only order thequantities needed for several days sale. It accordingly limits importers of this type, who must beable to guarantee the logistics of the fresh fruit sector - in other words, be capable of supplyingshops rapidly over a wide area under profitable economic conditions.This is dependent on the exporter/importer combination. The Israeli marketing system is based ontwo principles: a pooling of exports and the choice of a small number of importers per country. Asfar as the Hadiklaim company - which markets hayani dates but also all other Israeli dates - isconcerned, the type of partners they work with already in each country is a determining factor. Theideal importer must therefore be able to sell both products at once. He must be at the same time theseller of dried fruit and the seller of fresh fruit and in addition he must have refrigeration facilitiesand sufficient resources to repack the product when necessary. It is obvious that ideal candidates arefew and far between. 11
  12. 12. 5. PRICESThe EU is an important market for exporting countries, as it primarily imports dates of high value.In 1998-2000, the average unit value of dates imported ranged between US$1.7 and 2 per kg, whileat the global level the unit value was only US$0.6/kg.However, average date prices in the EU have generally been decreasing since the second half of the1990s. This fall has several causes. The primary reason is the strong rise in supply worldwide. Moredates have been made available on the European market. In face of a relatively stable demand(consumption per capita does not seem to increase substantially) prices have decreased. Thisphenomenon first hit the prices of common dates only. However, as supply of deglet nour fromTunisia and Algeria increased, prices for this variety have also declined. This trend has beencompounded by the increasing competition between deglet nour exporters, as these countriesliberalized their date sectors. According to some importers, the increase in the number of exporterscombined with the removal of central co-ordination has led to a drop in product quality.Furthermore, pressure from large-scale retailers in the wake of a series of mergers is accentuatingthe fall in prices. In an oversupplied market, it is easy for the retail chains to demand lower prices.Today the price of the ravier is at a level that importers consider the lowest possible. However, theoutlook is for prices to remain at the current level, at least for common dates and deglet nour.It should be borne in mind that there are exceptions to the general trend of price decrease. Theabove observations relate to an average price that does not reflect wide differences across datecategories. Prices for speciality dates, in particular mejool, can be very high. Depending on variety,origin, packaging and quality the difference in import prices may be almost ten fold.The following retail price were noted in London: Marks & Spencer Medjool (USA) £2.5/250g Covenant Fresh Produce Market Gilgrove Ltd (Agent): Medjool (Israel) £3/lb Louis Reece (Agent) Medjool (Israel) £33/5k Medjool (USA) £45/15lbs6. DATE MARKET IN JORDANThe Jordan date market, as in most of the Muslim countries, has a stagional demand, concentratedin proximity of the period of the Ramadan. In fact, the Iftar, the traditional meal which ends thefasting, starts with dates, that, for their nutritive qualities and lack of fats, are considered the bestfruit to regain strenght. 12
  13. 13. Local demand of dates used to be totally satisfied from Saudi Arabia imports. Data on Jordan’sproduction, were not available untill 1994; the reason is either the lack, or a marginal level ofproduction.Jordan started to produce dates in middle 90s, mostly in the Jordan Valley, where water availabilityis higher than in other regions.Graph. 1: Trend of Plantation’s Area Trend of Plantations Area 400 350 300 250 Hectars 200 Area of plantation 150 100 50 0 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002Source: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Department of Statistics, 2003In 1994, the dates’ plantation area was 108,3 hectars. Untill 1996 was stable and in 1997 there wasa very big increase, from a plantation area of 111 hectars to 212 hectars. In 2002, the plantation areawas 345,6 hectars. In the space of nine years an increase of 68% took place.Obviously, the production has registered a relevant increase, equal to 57%. From 1995 to 1998, theproduction increased from 641 tons to 1407 tons. There was a small decrease between 1998 and1999: the production fell from 1407 tons to 1104 tons. As a whole, production grew from 893 tonsin 1994 to 2016 tons in 2002.The total number of trees has tripled. The enormous increase, 65%, of bearing trees, allows us topredict a relevant increase of production in the next years. (For data, see table 2. A.) in theappendix).In the beginning of 90s, new re-export firms were founded in Jordan, with the aim of importingdates from Saudi Arabia, especially, mejool and deglet nour, varieties there less appreciated andconsequently sold at lower prices. Until 1995, imported dates were cleaned, processed andpackaged in Jordan and sold in the local market, whose size, however, is limited.Graph. 2: Number of Bearing Trees 13
  14. 14. Number of Bearing Trees 45,000 40,000 35,000 30,000 Trees 25,000 Number of Bearing Trees 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20Source: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Department of Statistics, 2003Graph. 3: Trend of Dates’ Production Trend of Dates Production 2500 2000 1500 tons Dates Production 1000 500 0 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20Source: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Department of Statistics, 2003Only in 1998 dates started to be exported.At the moment, local dates’ industry is constituted by four producers and exporting firms and eightfirms that, after importing, package and export dates. 14
  15. 15. Table 1: Companies’ name, type of company and markets exported to Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, UAE,Nabil Abdel Hay Attieh Farms Exporter Yemen Bahrain France Kenya Lebanon Kuwait Qatar United Arab EmiratesAl-Baraka Farms Co. Ltd. Producer/Exporter United KingdomAtta Abdel Hakim Syouri Exporter IraqSameeh Rajabi Sons Co. Exporter Bahrain Algeria Bahrain Belgium Egypt France Germany Italy Kuwait Morocco Saudi Arabia Syrian Arab Republic Tunisia United KingdomMohanad Al Shamaelh Farms Exporter United States Of America Kuwait Morocco Oman Qatar Saudi Arabia United Arab EmiratesGaze Al-Jbale Co. Exporter Yemen Belgium Canada France GermanyJordan River For Agricultural Products Co.(Jorico) Producer/Exporter Greece Sweden United Kingdom Bahrain France Lebanon UnitedArar Establishment Producer/Exporter Arab Emirates United Kingdom Bahrain Kuwait Netherlands Saudi Arabia United Arab EmiratesAl Fares Farms United KingdomAgricultural Investment Producer/Exporter Jordan, KuwaitAl- Haq Farm Exporter Jordan, KuwaitMohanad Al-Hashlamouny Farm Exporter Jordan, KuwaitSource JEDCOFirst markets exported to are Gulf countries, due, of course, to geographic proximity. 15
  16. 16. Graph. 4: Fresh Dates Domestic Export Fresh Dates Domestic Export 500000.00 1200000.00 450000.00 1000000.00 400000.00 350000.00 800000.00 300000.00 Quantity euro KG 250000.00 600000.00 Value F.O.B. in euro 200000.00 400000.00 150000.00 100000.00 200000.00 50000.00 0.00 0.00 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003Source: Jordan Export Development and Commercial Center Coorporation, 2004How graph. 4 shows, export value in 1998 was 58,538 euro and export quantity was 92,000 kg. Inthe space of time of two years, export value increased by 82%, reaching the value of 324,400 euroand export quantity increased of 83%, reaching 538,566 kg. In 2002 there was a pick of exportvalue and export quantity: 470,352 euro and 991,787 kg.Graph. 5: Juice of Date Treacle Domestic Export Juice of Date Treacle Domestic Export 140000 250000 120000 200000 100000 80000 150000 euro Quantity KG 60000 Value F.O.B. in euro 100000 40000 50000 20000 0 0 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003Source: Jordan Export Development and Commercial Center Coorporation, 2004A different trend is shown by the juice of date domestic export. In 1994, its value was 18,000 euroand the quantity was 22,134 kg. In 1997 there was a pick of juice of date domestic export: itreached the value of 115,000 euro and the quantity of 193,242 kg. Juice of date domestic export 16
  17. 17. decreased untill 2000. Now it is increasing very slowly; in 2003, export value was 28,411 eurowhile export quantity was 45,161 kg.The challange for Jordan producers/exporters is the penetration on the European and the Americanmarket.In order to penetrate in the European market, Jordanian producers/exporters have to deal with someproblems that, untill now, prevented the increase of Jordanian dates’ exports and, that often, havebeen the cause of rejections at the import stage.The main problems are the weakness in identifying demand as well as weakness in fulfillingsophisticated market needs of the European markets.In fact, untill now Jordanian producers/exporters did not successfully exploited European marketsbecause of the lack of: a) efficient export control; b) knowledge about certification, documents and procedures; c) information and communication.The first point is related to decomposition, mould, microbiological contamination, low-acid cannedfoods, pesticide residues, additives, contaminants, toxins.The second point is related to rejections at the import stage. Infact, countries in EU are allowed toaccept fruits and vegetables from non EU markets, only if the goods have obtained specificcertifications.7. CERTIFICATIONS REQUIRED TO EXPORT TO EUROPEAN MARKETJordan, as a member of the WTO (World Trade Organisation), must accept the agreement for theapplication of the Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary measures (SPS agreement) and the agreement aboutTechnical Barriers to Trade (TBT agreement).Moreover, international agreements have been implemented on the basis of specific standards, towhich governments or companies may demand compliance.Finally, the trade in agri-food products is specifically subjected to various standards, codes,specifications and recommendations called "Codex Alimentarius”. 17
  18. 18. Source: “Entreprendre dans l’industrie agro-alimentaire“ , ONUDI and Ministèr de l’Agriculture , de l’Alimentation,de la Péche et des Affaires Rurales study on agro-food industries, 2004Food companies must set up internal policies for the control of production to ensure product quality.Internal management and production decisions must conform to international agreements.7.1. Codex AlimentariusThe aim of Codex Alimentarius Commission is to protect consumer health and direct goodcommercial practices in the food industry, through the harmonisation of different international foodstandards.Codex is composed of more than 220 standards relating to:- Tolerance levels and maximum dose allowed for additives, agro chemical products, pesticides,residues and contaminants.- Evaluation of food hazards- Harmonisation of quality control rules- Control and certification of imported and exported food products- New products and products coming from biotechnology- General hygienic principles- Food allergy- Product labelling7.2. TBT and SPS AgreementsThe SPS agreement sets general international standards, but each country is given the right toimplement other standards respecting the following conditions: national measures must not be 18
  19. 19. applied in "arbitrary and unjustified" ways; standards have not to be used for protectionist purposes;standards must be based on scientific criteria to prevent hazards; risk analysis procedures agreed toby SPS must be used.These SPS agreements also include the harmonisation of standards and rules governing productiontechniques. This means that to take a decision, which will affect the provisions of a bilateral ormultilateral agreement, all the partners have to agree on the amendments.TBT agreements aim to ensure that technical regulations, standards and procedures for evaluationand of conformity are not unjustified obstacles to trade. On this basis, all members are allowed totake measures to protect life and health (human, animals, plants) or to protect the environment andto establish their own level of protection.Source: “Entreprendre dans l’industrie agro-alimentaire“ , ONUDI and Ministèr de l’Agriculture , de l’Alimentation,de la Péche et des Affaires Rurales study on agro-food industries, 20047.3. STANDARD’S REQUIREMENTSThe most important standard requirement is EUREP-GAP, the Euro-Retailer Produce WorkingGroup (EUREP). It started as a retailer initiative in 1997 with major inputs and support from 19
  20. 20. chemical companies with the aim of setting standard and procedures for the development of GAP,the Good Agricultural Practices policies and surveillance systems.EUREP-GAP describes essential elements and develops best practices global production of freshproduce. It demonstrates to customers a company’s commitment and ability to produce safe foodunder an exhaustive system (HACCP) verified by an internationally recognized independent thirdparty. Grawers receive their EUREP GAP approval via a EUREP GAP certificate, which is issuedby a EUREP GAP. A specifically designed approval process, the EUREP GAP BenchmarkingOption, facilitates existing national or regional quality assurance schemes, to prove equivalencewith EUREP GAP requirements. Avoids multiple audits at grower level and encourages thedevelopment of regionally adjusted integrated crop management systems.Within EU markings, it is important to distinguis between obligatory markings and preferentialmarkings.Whitin obligatory markings there are mainly two: Health and Safety marking: HACCP certificate: it demonstrates that the company applies suitable production, processing and/or packaging systems and procedures for hygiene and food safety to minimize food safety risks. CE marking: printed on the product and the packaging, it demonstrates that the product complies with the essential requirements on safety, health and the environment and consumer protection. Applicable (compulsory) to a range of manufactured products as listed under the New Approach Directives. Environment marking: Eco-labelling marking: the most commonly used eco-label is the Green Dot, printed on the product (packaging), demonstrates that the producer/importer of the product participates (financially) in a packaging waste management system.7.3. a. Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)The HACCP system is structured to intrinsically verify and manage the safety of food products.This spans every production stage including raw materials, production processes; taking intoconsideration handling methods, sorrounding conditions and the working environment, to the finalstage of packaging and storage. HACCP is now the key of the whole quality insurance system: thisrisk analysis and hazard control method, which is described below, is the most adapted and the most 20
  21. 21. used in the food industry in order to ensure the quality of the products. This systematic procedurecan be applied at the different levels of the food process: it is different from older methods and it isthe most efficient. It has become obligatory in ISO version 2000, in BRC and GMP statutes. InEurope, HACCP is an obligation to obtain the CE approval.The HACCP system is founded on a preventive approach, where hazardous stages and criticalcontrol points are identified for each step. Furthermore, these points are scheduled for timelyfollow-up in order to initiate corrective and preventive actions when necessary. The system isreviewed on a regular basis in order to ensure its effectiveness, and to embody the continuousimprovement of the quality and safety bearing of the production method and the products. The EUdirective on hygiene for foodstuffs 93/43/EC stipulates that foodstuff companies identifies eachaspect of their activities, which has a bearing on the safety of foodstuffs, and ensure that suitablesafety procedures are established, applied, maintained and revised on the basis of the HACCPsystem. All food processors in the EU are legally bound to have an HACCP system in place.HACCP has the quality to identify all the hazards that may occur to the product during its life cycle,to determine the maximum allowable deviations to the standard of each critical control point, and todesign and to implement a corrective action plan for each critical control point. The HACCPmethod is part of the total quality management in the company. It is the analysis of the completeprocess including all detailed steps of the production process. Hazard identification and riskevaluation will then lead to the identification of the critical points of control (CCP) through whichcontrols will be planned and specifications will be established, taking into account clients needsand countries regulations.The HACCP is based on these 7 steps: i. Conduct a hazard evaluation: identify hazards at every step of the food chain, from the primary production to consumption, find the probability of their occurrence and find ways to keep them under control. ii. Determine critical control points (CCPs): find procedures and actions that can be implemented to eliminate or reduce identified hazards. iii. Establish critical limits: critical limits must be found to guarantee quality. iv. Establish monitoring procedures: set up a monitoring system for management of CCPs. v. Identify corrective actions needed when the monitoring system shows that the CCP is not under control. vi. Identify verification procedures to confirm the efficiency of the system.vii. Establish record-keeping and documentation of the procedures and their application.In practice, 12 tasks must be followed, coming from theseven steps. 21
  22. 22. a. Create the HACCP team with multidisciplinary staff b. Complete description of the product c. Determine the use of the product d. Establish a diagram of the operations e. Check the diagram in the plant f. Find all the dangers at each step, analyse hazards, Identify quality management actions g. Find the Control Critical points (CCP) h. Establish critical limits for each CCP i. Establish a control system for each CCP j. Take corrective measures for each CCP k. Apply checking procedures on the HACCP system l. Create support documentation and precise recordingHACCP presents the following structure: HACCPProductionFacilitiesAgriculture Handling Processing Distribution Retailers ConsumersProducts GFP GHP GMP GDP GRP GCPWhere:a) GFP: Good Farming Practicesb) GHP: Good Handling Practicesc) GMP: Good Manufacturing Practicesd) GDP: Good Distribution Practicese) GRP: Good Retailing Practicesf) GCP: Good Catering PracticesBetween those six single certificates, the GMP certificate is considered very important in order tobetter penetrate foreign markets, expecially the European market and the North American one.The GMP practices are part of "Quality System Regulation" from FDA (Food and DrugAdministration). They require perfect quality in production, packaging, storage and transport of theproducts and processing plants. It includes different and frequent controls of process, staff (health,formation,...), buildings and equipment (healthiness, adaptability to products, hygiene rules) andproduction defects. This quality system, created by the FDA, is harmonised with the ISO 9001:1994 22
  23. 23. standard, but not with the 2000 version. Revisions must be made in order to simplify tradenegotiations and exchanges.To sum up, the benefits of HACCP implementation are: 1. Reduction and restriction of dangers that might be inflicted upon the product. 2. Optimal utilization of production resources, which leads to a general reduction in cost. 3. Increasing the firm’s competitive edge in the market. 4. Improving working environment and condition for employees that would increase the productivity and effectiveness of each.7.3. b CE MarkingThe CE Marking is a conformity marking consisting of the letters "CE". The CE Marking applies toproducts regulated by certain European health, safety and environmental protection legislation.CE is an abbreviation for Conformité Européenne, French for European Conformity. The CEMarking indicates that the product it is affixed to conforms to all relevant essential requirementsand other applicable provisions that have been imposed upon it by means of European directives,and that the product has been subject to the appropriate conformity assessment procedure(s). Theessential requirements refer, among other things, to safety, public health and consumer protection.The CE Marking is not a quality-mark. First, it refers to the safety rather than to the quality of aproduct. Second, CE Marking is mandatory for the product it applies to, whereas most qualitymarkings are voluntary.The CE Marking must be affixed visibly, legibly and indelibly. Where special provisions do notimpose specific dimensions, it must have a height of at least 5 millimeters.Whitin preferential markings there are mainly three: Quality marking. ISO 9000 series certificate: it demonstrates that a company has a quality management system in place, according to the criteria set by the ISO 9000 series standard. EN/ISO norms: they demonstrate conformity to a set level of performance. Social Accountability marking: Social/Fair trade labels: Label printed on the product (packaging that demonstrates that the product is produced (and traded) on the basis of fair trade/social principles with respect to labour conditions and remuneration. Applicable to various consumer goods. Increasing market requirement, especially of the labels that demonstrate production free of child labour. 23
  24. 24. SA 8000 certificate: it demonstrates that a company applies ethical principles for the sourcing and production of goods and services, according to the criteria set by CEPAA and based on the Conventions of the ILO. Codes of conduct: written declaration of business principles, mainly in relation to business integrity, social responsability and the environment. It is an increasing market requirement to formulate proper codes of conduct. For recognition and acceptance; companies often apply for (inter) national labels or certificates. Environment marking: Eco-lables: Labels, printed on the product (packaging), that demonstrate friendly characteristics of the product and/or production process. According to criteria set by the different bodies. Increasing importance as a market requirement, especially for organically produced food products. ISO 14000 series certificates: it demonstrates that a company has a management system in place to manufacture in an environmentally consious way, according to the criteria set by the ISO 14000 series standard.7.3. c ISO 9000 and ISO 14000.The ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 families are among ISO’s most widely known standards ever.ISO 9000 has become an international reference for quality management requirements in business-to business dealings, and ISO 14000 is well on the way to achieving as much, if not more, inenabling organizations to meet their environmental challanges. The ISO 9000 family is primarilyconcerned with “quality management”. This means what the organization does to fulfil: - the customer’s quality requirements; - applicable regulatory requirements, while aiming to: - enhance customer satisfaction; - achieve continual improvement of its performance in pursuit of these objectives.The ISO 14000 family is primarily concerned with “environmental management”. This means whatthe organization does to: - minimize harmful effects on the environment caused by its activities; - achieve continual improvement of its environmental performance.The standards that have earned the ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 are known as “generic managementsystem standards”. 24
  25. 25. “Generic” means that the same standards can be applied to any organization, large or small,whatever its product (goods or services), in any sector of activity and wheter it is a businessenterprise, a public administration, or a government department. “Management system” refers to theorganization’s structure for managing its processes- or activities- that transform inputs of resourcesinto a product or service which meet the organization’s objectives, such as satisfying the customer’squality requirements, complying to regulations, or meeting environmental objectives.To apply the system of quality management ISO 9001:2000, it is necessary to take the followingsteps:1. Identify the objectives to reach2. Identify what others (staff, customers, consumers) expect3. Get information about the ISO 9000 family4. Apply the standards of the family ISO 9000 in the system of management5. Find guidelines for specific subjects in the system of quality management6. Set up the current statute of the company, find out the differences between current qualitymanagement and the ISO 9001:2000 requirements7. Set up processes necessary to provide products to the customers. See the requirements of thesection ISO 9001:2000 on the realisation of the product.8. Set up a plan to fill the gaps identified at Step 6 and to work out the given processes at Step 7.Identify the actions necessary to fill the gaps, allocate the resources to carry out these actions,assign responsibilities and establish a calendar to carry out the actions necessary.9. Carry out the plan. Carry out the execution of the identified actions and supervise actionsaccording to the timing.10. Perform periodic internal evaluations.The standard set up requires certain documents, among them, the Quality Management Handbook.This is written by a team composed of different people from the different services of the company(and not by external consultants). QMH must take into account the idea of progress: for a plantalready certified for several years, the QMH must be the proof of changes in the plant.Different quality management systems have been set up by Certification companies; they includethe HACCP method and clients standards or specifications (nutritive, sensorial) as well asconformity with food regulation, and points for the products quality are added to the CCPs.7.3. d SA 8000 certificateSAI’s first social accountability system, SA8000, is a way for retailers, brand companies, suppliersand other organizations to maintain just and decent working conditions throughout the supply chain.The SA8000 standard and verification system is a credible, comprehensive and efficient tool forassuring humane workplaces because it includes: • A standard that covers all widely-accepted international labor rights. 25
  26. 26. • Factory-level management system requirement for ongoing compliance and improvement. • Independent, expert verification of compliance: Certification of facilities by auditing bodies accredited by SAI. SAI accreditation ensures that auditors have the procedures and resources needed to conduct thorough and objective audits. There are currently nine organizations accredited to do SA8000 certification. • Involvement by all stakeholders: Participation by all key sectors, including workers and trade unions, companies, socially responsible investors, nongovernmental organizations and government, in the SA8000 system. Such participation is required withthe Advisory Board, drafting and revision of the standard and auditing system, conferences, training, and the complaints system. • Public reporting: SA8000 certified facilities are posted on the SAI Web site. Companies that join level two of the SA8000 Corporate Involvement Program (CIP) release annual progress reports verified by SAI. • Harnessing consumer and investor concern: The SA8000 Certification and Corporate Involvement Program help consumers and investors to identify and support companies that are committed to assuring human rights in the workplace SA8000 Standard Elements.Untill now only four companies have obtained or are working to obtain specific certification toexport abroad: Al-Baraka Farms Co, Nabil Abdel Hay Attieh Farms, Atta Abdel Hakim Syouri,Agricultural Investment.They have the following quality certifications.Nabil Abdel Hay Attieh Farms CE-MARK IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and QualityAl-Baraka Farms Co. Ltd. MarkAtta Abdel Hakim Syouri ISO 9000 It is working to obtain ISO 9001:2000 certificate and HACCP and Eurep-Gap (in order to start organic datesAgricultural Investment export)CE-MARK, ISO, EUREP-GAP and HACCP have been already explained. It is important to pointslightly to Quality Mark certificates.7.3.e The Quality MarkThe Quality Mark is a specific certificate required to export in U.K. It is part of the CommunityLegal Service (CLS), a major government initiative launched in April 2000. The aim of the CLS isto improve access, for the public, to quality information, advice and legal services through localnetworks of services supported by co-ordinated funding and based on an assessment of local needs. 26
  27. 27. Initially it will consist of members with a Quality Mark for the level of service they provide.TheQuality Mark is the quality standard that will underpin all CLS services, so that members of thepublic who need legal information, advice and other help can rely on receiving a quality assuredservice.To be awarded the Quality Mark and be able to display the Quality Mark logo, organisationswill need to demonstrate that they meet the standard required for the type of service beingdelivered.The three Quality Mark standards are: • Information • General Help • Specialist HelpThe Quality Mark logo will instantly identify the factory to clients and funders alike. The QualityMark is a major government initiative - its logo will be recognised throughout England & Wales.The Quality Mark will demonstrate that factories are committed to providing a quality service. Thestandards have been developed specifically to assure quality legal service provision.Other servicemembers will know what the factory does and will be able to refer clients to the factory. A regionalDirectory of Quality Mark holders, is widely available to the public and to other service members.8. OTHER OBSTACLES TO EXPORT DEVELOPMENTOther problems related to the obstacles to export development are: a) weak role of agricultural associations; b) weak transportation system especially to Europe; c) lack of packing houses, agricultural marketing and processing companies.Only in June 2003, the Horticultural Export Promotion Department has been established as a part ofJordan Development & Commercial Centers Corporation (JEDCO), thanks for a loan granted to theJordanian government by the World Bank. The Horticultural Export Promotion is implementing aplan that would increase the level of Jordanian horticulture products to international markets, byenabling farmers to reach higher output and better quality in order to meet international standardsand competition.Regarding to the second point, air transportation presents very high cost of flight trajectory. Thereare two RJ airplanes for cargo; one of them (Boeing 707) is not permitted to fly to Britain, currentlyflying to Mastrich and will cease flying soon. Although the sea transportation is the best andcheapest exporting mean for different varieties of products, the exporters do not use it throughAqaba port because of the long delivery time, the absence of developed road transportation, lack ofproper refrigerating system and low volume of exports. Road Transportation: There is a great 27
  28. 28. potential to export fresh fruits and vegetables through refrigerated road transportation to theEuropean markets but out of 800 acting trailers, just 12 trailers meet the international standards.This means negative effects on the product quality and the reduction of product real prices.Regarding to the third point, most of the nationally produced packages are not appropriate forexporting purposes, and can not compete with imported ones, because of low quality.9. CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONSDate production in Jordan and export to European countries and to U.S. are two activities that offera very high development potentiality.As already mentioned before, Jordanian exports’ development has been hindered by many problemsthat can be summed up in the following way: a) Weak knowledge of world dates demand due to lack of market researches; b) Lack of cooperation between differents producers/exporters; c) Lack od knowledge of required quality’s standards; d) Weak knowledge about marketing and packaging regulationsIn order to work out those mentioned problems it is important to implement an effective andsostainable project of dates’ export development, by paying particular attention to demandrequirements, marketing strategy, food safety certifications, traceability process and a greater co-ordination between producers/exporters.9.1. Attention to demand requirementsIn order to be able to satisfy the world demand, Jordanian producers should: 1) Increase the plantation area, the number of trees and thus the production of mejool variety, instead of common variety dates that are subjected to a higher competition; 2) Start an organic cultivation of date, following the success example of Israel that found in organic date production a very profitable niche market.Relating to the first point, the demand of mejool dates in U.K. and in France is growing rapidly and,above all, is not satisfied by North African countries’ supply. Moreover, Jordanian producers shouldstart a penetration policy in Denmark, Sweden and Ireland. Denmark and Sweden have increasedtheir imports since the mid 1990s and, although these markets are small, they are dynamic andconsumers have a high purchasing power. Ireland’s imports are also growing, although from a verysmall base. 28
  29. 29. Conversely, Jordanian producers should not be interested to penetrate in countries such as Belgium,Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Greece and Finland, because their dates’ damand shows no cleartrend.Relating to the second point, Jordan can satisfy a higher demand of organic products starting anorganic production. Key factors that affect consumer demand for organics include awareness andknowledge of organics, motivation, willingness to pay, and availability. In general, consumers oforganic products are affluent, educated and health-conscious.In some markets, organic products are sold through small local specialty markets but in others,organic products sit on supermarket shelves next to conventional products, available to a wide crosssection of consumers.Europe is a primary market for organic products, but it is not a uniform market. Not only are theredifferences in language, business customs, regulations, and consumer preferences, but thedistribution and retail systems vary, affecting the availability of organic products.The U.K.s organics market is lagging in its development, but the situation is dynamic. Demand isgrowing at 40 percent a year, outpacing supply, which is growing at 25 percent annually. In 1999,U.K. retail sales of organic products totaled about $650 million, up from $250 million in 1995.Germany is the largest market in Europe for organic food and the second largest in the world afterthe United States. Nevertheless, this represents only about 1.75 percent of total German food salesand a fairly low per capita consumption level compared to more developed organic markets inEurope like Denmark and Sweden. Organics is still a niche market in France in terms of value,representing only 1.0 percent of total retail food sales compared to certain other European Union(EU) countries. However, the market has been growing at a rate of 12 percent per year, and that rateis expected to reach 20 percent per year in the near term. Growing demand, coupled with agovernment initiative to stimulate domestic production and improve distribution, is expected toboost organic food sales to $2.6 billion by the year 2004.Of course an organic date plantation needs many investment in order to sustain high costs.However, those costs may be overcome by the higher revenues due to the growing global demand.9.2. Importance of marketing improvementMarketing is involved at all levels of an enterprise, from technical choices and long-terminvestment, to guiding principles and short-term plans of action:- In defining the scale of production: a quantitative market study is a key element in sizing the unit;a qualitative approach can help to determine the product and even the choice of technologies. These 29
  30. 30. elements are a key point in the planning of an enterprise, have a direct impact on the cost ofinvestments and determine the long-term equilibrium of the project.- In organizing the overall guiding principles: the positioning of the enterprise, based on marketstudies and competition, the possibilities inherent to the market and the tendencies of long- andmiddle-term demand play an essential role in strategic choices.- In suggesting operational strategies, from the characteristics of the product to be sold to theconception of commercial action, an analysis of market demand, consumer behaviors anddistribution circuits will be useful basic tools.The concept of a marketing strategy is the confrontation between the resources and objectives of theenterprise with its competitive and regulatory environment and its market. This is not a fixedconcept: the consumer evolves, as does the competition, thus the concept and its devices mustevolve as well.Overall, marketing is at the heart of the strategy of the enterprise, which demands coherencebetween the marketing strategy and the mission and positioning of the enterprise and internalcoherence among all the composite parts of the marketing strategy.The agri-food enterprise, often driven by distribution, should aim more and more to offer assurancesother than a simple product guarantee: social or environmental implication, preservation ofresources and sustainable development. The enterprise should therefore develop a new field oflistening and dialogue with the consumer, which is an integral part of marketing.Two important themes that can influence marketing choices in the dates’ sector have to be outlined:1) Questions relevant to labeling:Generally, the enterprise should not misinform the consumer through labeling or advertising for aproduct. International regulations are evolving, especially in the agri-foods sector, towards ademand for greater transparency for the consumer, which may have two consequences, in particularfor products exported to the EU:- The framing of certain claims, notably nutritional and health claims which are strictly limited: theymay restrain marketing choices or engender specific costs for the producer. For example, the claim"non-allergenic" can be very difficult to use.- The obligatory mention of additives, colorants or preservatives contained within a product: such amention could damage an image of high quality.- The obligatory mention of the geographic origin of products. These constraints may influence thepositioning of a product in exterior markets.2) Official seals of quality: 30
  31. 31. The EU has put in place a system of official seals which, depending on the product and the sector,have begun to have an impact on the consumer. They are reserved for enterprises of the EU andmay therefore concern the Unions new members.Systems of the same type may be put in place by developing countries to officially control andguarantee the quality of their products.They offer regulatory methods to an enterprise to prioritize a specific characteristic of its products,approved and guaranteed by the official seal, under the condition of inspection and control by anexternal organization.Unfortunately, a policy of marketing improvement is not costless and it needs time.The marketing costs can be significant and diverse. They may include internal costs (personnel,economic intelligence and documentation) and external costs.The price of a study is impossible to calculate for a general case. As specific examples, a surveyinvestigation of 500 consumers, in a European country, could cost from 10,000 to 20,000(depending on the questionnaire) including analysis; this cost could be lowered to 5,000 to 10,000 ifthe survey is performed by telephone; the use of a consumer panel for a product class could costfrom 20,000 to 50,000.Moreover it is important to organise a tight collaboration between the marketing function and themore technological functions of the enterprise (notably Research and Development, and production)to take into account their respective constraints and infuse the enterprise with a marketing spirit.Concerning the time requirements, a market study takes between 2 and 6 months.9.3. Importance of food safetyFood production and consumption are of crucial importance for any society. For the majority of theworld population, food safety is equivalent to sanitary safety of human food.Today there is a real risk of food related incidents: they can have an impact on humans and aneconomic impact on trade marks and supply chains. In this context product quality and consumersafety, products that are not well known, or that come from developing countries, can makeconsumers especially anxious; they will have to comply with more and more specifications and willbe the subject of strict controls. Thus, food safety has become an angle for market differentiation ofa product, a choice criteria for the consumer and a key to exportation. 31
  32. 32. Food producers are completely responsible for the safety of their products: the implementation ofhazard analysis and control methods must be carried out at every level, from raw material tofinished product.Generally speaking, food safety practices include:- evaluation of the exposition of the products to toxic substances;- strict and permanent control of pathogenic micro organism contamination;- evaluation of the safety of processes and procedures;- respect for standards of sanitation;- monitoring and control of diseases caused by food.As a policy of marketing improvement, food safety controls are not costless and they are timeconsuming.The direct cost for setting up the certified quality procedures includes:- subscription costs to the certification company;- cost of the surveillance audit.Whatever the quality control system chosen, the different complementary internal costs must beadded. These costs are specific of each company and, therefore, more difficult to estimate. All inall, these include:- setting up of the quality control system (and all the investments needed),- consultancy for the quality management system implementation (consultant and trainer),- staff sensitising,- staff formation,- documentation (quality manual, process, instructions, etc.),- monitoring and control of the quality system,As a guide, the average cost in a European country for the intervention of an external body for thequality record of a 50 person plant may be about 7,000 euro for the first audit and 2,000 euro peryear for the surveillance audits. Hidden costs and internal costs can represent much more than theexternal cost.Overall, conformity to standards must be considered as an investment much more than a necessarycost: it generally leads to a reduction in the costs of quality problems.Setting up a quality control system to assure the complete safety of the finished product is a fulltime job for one person. Monitoring and controlling the quality control procedures is, then, a parttime job for one qualified employee.It is necessary to form a team to manage hygiene in the new system; this management can be doneby: 32
  33. 33. - regular formation meetings adapted to everybodys level of knowledge;- fast training and instruction for temps;- display of notices detailing the main procedures.The formation of this team must be accounted for in the time taken to set up the system. To beefficient, the HACCP system should describe each persons role in the system.Time is a function of the individual plant situation, client requirement, initial level of the qualitymanagement, 6 to 12 months may be necessary to set up a quality control system. If it is a newapproach for the company, more than one year may be necessary.For a company, the guarantee of the food safety of its production depends upon:- A global quality management approach in cooperation with veterinary services.- The set-up of a clear and functioning quality management organization, including everyonesresponsibilities.- A well informed and mobilized staff.- Periodic controls allowing permanent validation of the product specifications.9.4. Importance of traceabilityTraceability is defined as "the aptitude to recall the history, the use or the localization of a productor service, or similar products or services, by means of recorded identifications." (ISO 8402)Traceability makes it possible to follow and find a product or a service from the time of its creation(production) up to its destruction (consumption).Today, all industries are concerned with traceability. It is now treated as essential, and for reasonsbeyond simple logistic issues.The first goal of traceability is to quickly find solutions to solve any problem that may beencountered: for instance, the identification of batches of products turning out to be dangerous(food crises) or the search for causes of non-conformity.Traceability mostly allows intervention upstream of the marketing stage or the receipt of services.This ability to control adherence to procedure at all times leads to a decrease of the non-qualitycosts and to a precise tracking of defects and reduction of actual costs of production or processing.Traceability, in its various forms, is bound to become an obligatory tool and requirement for allfirms. It corresponds to both the security needs of the consumer and the growing expectations ofretailers; it also helps to meet the demands of internal organisation.The increase in consumers perceptions of food risks has necessitated total control of agro-industrialproduction and distribution.A firm is liable for its products and brands; as a result, it has to dispose of the necessary means to: 33
  34. 34. - sell safe products,- demonstrate their safety.The traceability process is one of the means to meet the transparency requirement, which isfundamental to strengthen or reconquer consumers confidence.Traceability implies different forms of organisation in the various links of the chain as well as forthe products. Its implementation will therefore depend on the sector and on its position in the chain(cattle food, breeding, food industry, distribution.).Besides, the question of the extent to which traceability can be developed demands the carefuldefinition of the term "batch." This notion of the batch, which generically defines a homogeneousgroup of products to be traced, is often specific to a type of raw material or to a process.One particular aspect of the food sector should be highlighted: when using a living raw material,account should be taken of consumer fears regarding intensive agricultural practices, pesticides andcontaminants, the traceability of finished food products allows a wider following of the agriculturalproduction, upstream the processing.As a policy of marketing improvement and food safety controls, the traceability process is notcostless and it is time consuming.Administrative traceability requires a suitable computer system since paper documentation nolonger suffices.Traceability obviously implies an increase in the amount of information recorded. Itsimplementation can use simple but effective means like color codes (according to the batches). Itmay also require investment in new technologies such as bar codes, radio reading or transponders.In both cases, the effectiveness of the traceability system will depend on the data storage (paper orcomputer)The cost remains difficult to measure: when routinized, the registrations do not increase theoperators tasks and can contribute to a rigorous following of the production. This cost is thereforeincluded in the cost of quality control and usually requires the presence of a quality manager forimplementation as well as for operation. This high cost can generate indirect benefits, such asincreased awareness of quality.In firms where the computer is adapted to traceability, minimum periods of one year have beennecessary before getting to optimal tracing.To conclude, in order to have a higher attention to demand requirements, an appropriate marketingstrategy, a set of food safety certification the dates’ production sector has two main needs: A. More investment from private and governamental sector, and an easier access to credit, in order to have financial support to higher initial costs. 34
  35. 35. A greater co-ordination between different producers/exporters, also through a creation of a nationalassociation or through a greater partecipation to the Date Production Global Network, that has, asgeneral objective, to increase the technical co-operation among all date producing countries and , asspecific objectives, protection, marketing, research and development, post-harvest and processingtechnology of dates palm by-products and residues. 35
  36. 36. REFERENCESAudran X., Pinon F. and Gauthier R., (2004), “Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards”, FAIRS Annual Report 2004, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, GAIN ReportDarmawan T., (2004), “Exporting Fruit & Vegetablesto the EU, practical Guidance on the Relevant EU Rules”, Power Point presentation at Safety First Seminar: How EU food safety rules can help ASEAN’S exportersEurofruit (1999), “Increased interest in Europe boosts dating game”, Agrexco, November 1999, London, UKFAO (2002), FAOSTAT Statistical databaseGreiner, D. (1998), “Le marché de la datte, produit de rente des oasis : enjeux, diversité, tensions. in Sécheress“ , Special issue on Oasis, vol. 9 no. 2, June 1998 John Libbey Eurotext Limited, Montrouge, FranceLiu, P (2003), “The marketing potential of date palm fruits in the European market”, FAO Commodity and trade Policy Research Working Paper No. 6Ministry of Planning Jordan National Competitiveness Team, (2000), “Agriculture Cluster in the Jordan Valley”Najma, M., (2004), “Plants of the Quran: The Date Palm”, from the web site www.islamonline.netONUDI and Ministèr de l’Agriculture, de l’Alimentation, de la Pèche et des Affaires Rurales, (2004), “Entreprendre dans l’industrie agro-alimentaire“, Study on agro-food 36
  37. 37. APPENDIXTable 1. A. : Value F.O.B. and Quantity of Domestic Export (Quantity are in KG net) Code Commodity_Description Year Domestic Export: Domestic Export: Value F.O.B. in Quantity euro. 80410100 Dates, fresh ( ripe dates ) 1994 203 500 1995 .. .. 1996 696 623 1997 .. .. 1998 58538 92000 1999 129867 155897 2000 324400 538566 2001 309068 573679 2002 470352 991787 2003 251740 424956 Dried dates in packing,of a 80410290 content exceeding 1kg. 1994 1518 18720 1995 .. .. 1996 11352 4780 1997 28300 9000 1998 7701 16200 1999 .. .. 2000 .. .. 2001 .. .. 2002 .. .. 2003 300872 739188 Juice of date treacle (dibbs), unfermented and not containing added spirit 200980100 or sugar 1994 17359 22134 1995 36211 69112 1996 43500 112880 1997 114779 193242 1998 45949 99465 1999 55139 61493 2000 13535 12880 2001 24360 22039 2002 26386 33600 2003 .. .. 37
  38. 38. Table 2. A. : Data on Area, Number of Trees, Number of Bearing Trees andProduction Total Number Number of Production Year Area (hectars) of Trees Bearing Trees (Tons) 1994 108 20,560 14,857 893 1995 108 20,559 15,268 641 1996 111 21,142 15,708 910 1997 212 37,242 14,975 1107 1998 250 42,199 29,551 1407 1999 251 42,735 28,615 1104 2000 264 44,290 32,357 1321 2001 264 44,290 36,438 1414 2002 346 63,181 41,965 2106 38