The four-festival will also feature a range of economic and commercial events and activities, performances by folklore bands, competitions and various cultural programs to introduce palm trees and their different varieties and types.
The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) announced that it has completed all its preparations to launch the events of the seventh edition of the “Al Dhaid Date Festival 2023”, which will be organized from 27 to 30 July at the Dhaid Expo Center.
The festival is regarded as one of the most significant cultural, historical, and social events that the SCCI is eager to organize every year as part of its commitment to support local farmers and palm owners from Al Dhaid, Sharjah, and the UAE in general; spread the agricultural culture in society; and strengthen the nation’s food security system, coinciding with the UAE’s Year of Sustainability.
The four-day event, which witnesses the participation of hundreds of palm farmers nationwide, will include many competitions for which prizes amounting to more than AED 1 million have been allocated. The prizes will be distributed to winners of competitions classified in main categories, namely Al Ratab Beauty, Largest Dates Branch, Best Lemons, Fig Contest, Al Heseel Date Contest, and Most Beautiful Dates Basket (only for women). Each category offers rewards of between AED 1,000 and AED25,000.
The festival witnesses this year the addition of a new competition under the name “Al Dhaid Fort for Palm Owners”, which is dedicated to farmers from the Emirate of Sharjah.
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Award for Agricultural Excellence will also join the for the purpose of encouraging and honoring farmers and commercial farms, in addition to stimulating agricultural innovation, and encouraging the adoption of best agricultural practices.
The festival will also feature a range of economic and commercial events and activities, performances by folklore bands, competitions and various cultural programs to introduce palm trees and their different varieties and types.
His Excellency Mohammed Ahmed Amin Al-Awadi, SCCI Director General, stressed that the Al Dhaid Date Festival represents one of the most significant initiatives of the Sharjah Chamber, through which it seeks to achieve socio-economic goals, most notably the consolidation and preservation of the historical status of the palm tree, the preservation of the ancient cultural and heritage of UAE people, support for the owners of palm-producing farms and the promotion of sustainable agricultural development.
Al Awadi emphasized that the current festival edition saw an increase in the number of exhibitors, which is a positive sign that improves the event’s success and highlights its innovative position as a prestigious annual platform in which palm owners, farmers, industrialists, and traders are eager to participate due to the critical role it plays in enhancing the quality of the local product and increasing the return on investment of palm and industries based on dates.
For his part, Mohammed Musabah Al Tunaiji, the Festival General Coordinator, noted that the Al Dhaid Date Festival is regarded as a true representation of Emirati tradition in addition to its function in commemorating the UAE’s date harvest season.
The festival, he added, constitutes a distinct annual platform to provide all forms of support to farmers and develop local industries based on dates, upgrading them and raising the quality of the Emirati product, in addition to strengthening the position of Al Dhaid city in the agricultural wealth sector, and consolidating its position in the field of palm cultivation, which is famous for the diversity and quality of its varieties.
Al Ratab Khanzi Beauty, and Largest Dates Branch (40kgs and above for Khasab Dates, 50kgs for other varieties) are the first competitions to start on Thursday, July 27; to be followed by Al-Khalas Beauty and Best Lemons competitions on July 28. Al-Shishi Dates Red Fig and the Most Beautiful Basket competitions are scheduled for July 29, while the last day witnesses the General Elite and Al Dhaid Fort Elite Competitions.
Entering the competitions includes a number of general conditions, for example, dates must belong to the country’s local production; participants from Northern Emirates have to present dates from the production of their own farm or garden; participants from the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai have to present dates from the production of their own farms.
As for the females participating in the Most Beautiful Basket competitions must be 25 years or more. The basket must be hand-made from local from palm fronds and from luxurious dates.
The festival organizing committee called on palm farmers to participate in the event, which will open its doors to visitors daily from 8 am to 10 pm. The committee set out the dates specifications and the competitions criteria; the most prominent of which are articulated as follow: dates should be in the appropriate stage of maturity; each entry should not include more than one type of dates of certain categories; dates should be free of insect infestations, dead insects, their eggs, larvae, or excrement, and any apparent defects, abnormal smell or taste, nor be tainted by mineral or sand traces, e.g. scars.
Moreover, the dates size should be appropriate and should not contain unripe fruits. Participating dates should not weigh less than 3kg without the basket, in case of individual types.