A TINY Somerset village with a population of just 1,000 people is home to Europe's largest exporter of date palm plants - and is expecting exports to DOUBLE over the next three years.

Date Palm Developments Ltd. (D.P.D) has flourished since it began growing date palm plants in the mid 1970s, and now exports over 150,000 plants-a-year to 25 countries worldwide.

Countries including Thailand, Peru, and North, South, and Sub-Saharan Africa have a high demand for the plants, which are used to detoxify soils and make arid desert areas healthy again.

And D.P.D. Ltd is showing no signs of slowing after Brexit - as it has just poured £2.5 million into a state-of-the-art new greenhouse facility to prepare for a growth in exports.

It is expecting to double its annual exports to almost 300,000 date palm plants a year by 2022.

The new 3000-square-meter facility will open on Thursday (October 3) in Baltonsborough, near Glastonbury, Somerset - a village with a population of just 1,002.

The new greenhouse may currently be empty of plants, but it looks hi-tech with rows of large square plant trays waiting for the date palm plants.

State-of-the-art facilities include an engine room to maintain heat and light conditions, and a dispatch space to prepare the plants for being exported.

And, although it looks rather sci-fi now, the space will soon be filled with the green shoots of almost 300,000 date palm plants.

D.P.D prides itself on the fact that their plants are not at all genetically modified - as they are produced using cuttings from the stems of other plants.

A representative for the company said: "D.P.D's reputation is serving them really well.

"They were the first company to start to micropropogate the plants when they started in the 1970s - that is, taking a part of the plant itself to create more plants.

"By creating a replica of the parent plant in this way, you get guaranteed quality and disease-free plants."

The spokesperson added that the date palm plants are a "really valuable food crop", and are used to make arid desert areas healthy again, and detoxify soils.

D.P.D's largest export countries are Thailand, Peru, and North, South, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

And the demand for the date palm plants is steadily growing geographically as more countries realise how valuable the crops are.

The opening of the new facility in Baltonsborough on Thursday will see the likes of local dignataries, including the High Sheriff, looking around the greenhouse for the first time.

The D.P.D representative said: "It will be mostly ceremonial - there will be a ribbon-cutting, and a ceremonial tree has been planted for people to see.

"Members of the public will have the opportunity to see the plants in the current facility, if they want to get an idea of what the new facility will look like when it's full.

"D.P.D are aiming to have moved the plants into the new facility by mid-November, before winter sets in," she added.