Liwa Date Festival concludes today
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The Liwa Date Festival this year has something special as it is held just before the holy month of Ramadan, promising to keep the fresh delicacy for everyone during the holy month.
“The festival supervisors exert huge efforts towards raising the farmers’ awareness on the latest ways of farming, encouraging them to use the best and suitable ways to improve quality of the palm trees, in addition to educating them on the optimal ways to use and conserve the irrigation water,” said Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Head of the Festival Higher Organising Committee, who is also Culture and Heritage Affairs Consultant at the Office of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Board Member of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority.
Some of the best date flavours, like Khalas, Barhi and Khaneezi, are on display at the exhibition by local farmers.
“We have some of the great tasty dates in the market. We all love dates, and during Ramadan, we love to have it more, because we break our fast with it. Here I have three of the best dates from our family farm for display,” said the young farmer, Fars Al Mazrouei.
The 16-year-old Mazrouei further added the annual festival was a big support for all the farmers living in remote areas “like here in Liwa where I live”. He also said the annual event and government support was nothing less than a blessing as it would always encourage farmers to improve and further increase their agro-products, “especially when there are huge cash prizes for all of us to share”.
This year’s festival has Dh4.2 million cash prizes for the participants — 15 prizes in each of the three categories with money offer ranging from Dh2,000 to Dh200,000.
A recent official study confirmed the UAE as the world’s leading date exporter, with control over 33 per cent of world exports, amounting to 266,000 tonnes going to over 30 countries.
The festival started on July 12 concludes today with hundreds of farmers and food processing companies displaying their products. Most of the visitors at the festival, according to organisers, were foreigners, particularly tourists who appreciated the displays and called the exhibition a great event.
For Jyrki Salminen, an engineer from Finland, it was a great time at the festival as he always wanted to taste different types of dates.
“I love dates and that is why I’m here. I came to know about it through an email from a friend. I’m really impressed by the exhibits of the sweetest fruit here,” he said.
An old Emirati woman taking part in the exhibition with four varieties of dates grown in her home garden, said all the dates she brought from her farm in the morning got over by the noon as the visitors loved them. “Everyday I have been going to my farm to get the supply at least twice a day,” she said.
American Albert Vermeulen and his wife came from Abu Dhabi city and appreciated local authorities for organising such an event.
He said: “These kinds of events appreciate and further encourage UAE farmers to help boost the country’s agro-economy. This recognises the hard work of these local farmers. I come from a grape-grower family in the US. But this exhibition is simply great and the taste of these dates are awesome.”
He also said there are date palms in the US called Kuchch, “but they are tasteless. The dates I tasted here today are really awesome”.