Liwa dates fest from July 17

ABU DHABI - They are still green, but this year’s dates will all be ripe in time for the 2010 Liwa Dates Festival, set to take place on July 17-26 in the beautiful oasis of Al Gharbia (Western Region).

By (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Tue 25 May 2010, 10:27 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:45 PM

Being held under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the festival is one of the emirate’s richest heritage events. It will include competitions such as Mazayin Al Ratab (half-ripe dates), which aims to encourage the improvement of the UAE’s dates quality and make them more competitive locally and internationally, while preserving their natural taste.

“The palm trees, which occupy a prominent place in the UAE’s heritage and nation’s memory, must be protected and preserved so that it becomes an essential part of the daily lives of the UAE people,” said Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, director-general of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), the organiser of the festival.

Heritage aside, the event also aims to show and encourage farmers to produce dates using modern farming techniques, putting quality over quantity and come up with fruits that are grown free of chemical additives.

Therefore, in the festival’s majlis, farmers usually gather to exchange expertise for the highest quality of dates.

Last year, the fifth date festival, which lasted for 10 days, also contributed to Liwa’s economic boom with a distinctive increase in trade and tourism. It attracted 60,000 national and international visitors. There were 1,769 people from all over the UAE participating in the dates ‘beauty’ contest (known locally as Mazayn), while 5,715 Ratab baskets in all dates competition categories were submitted.

The organising committee itself purchased 1,594 date baskets directly from farmers and residents of Liwa as an early support for the festival. In addition, 119 farmers were offered dedicated dates sales spots in the festival grounds.

Cash prizes worth Dh2.225 million, as well as 15 vehicles, were awarded to 90 Emirati competition winners.

A souk, a children’s tent and dates in gourmet cooking were also available. Even some surprising products surfaced — pickled dates, incense and skin products made out of palm fronds!

And, as promises usually go, this year is likely to be even better!

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