Five year old date palms are already bearing fruit, which is wrapped in mesh bags to protect it from birds and other pests on government farm. - - Support to the Date Production Programme, Namibia - Introduction of Date Palm Cultivation into Communal Farming adn Hardap Settlement (Phase II): UTF/NAM/004/NAM. The Date Production Support Programme has introduced the date palm as a commercial crop in Namibia, a semi-desert county that had no date sector previously. The project, financed by the Government of Namibia, has helped in the establishment of a tissue culture laboratory, as well as a modern packaging and processing plant. Many commercial farmers have taken up the crop after its successful introduction on government farms. The government considers the crop has the following advantages: contributes to food security, high nutritional value, high income for both small and large scale farmers, crop diversification, job creation possibilities, settlement of landless peasants, foreign exchange earnings through export, and control of desertification. Phase II of the project will attempt to introduce the crop to poor farmers including those recently installed on land resettlement schemes.