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UAE: AED8.3 million in prize money at Liwa Dates Festival in Emirate of Abu Dhabi on July 17


Abu Dhabi: The latest edition of the Liwa Date Festival will be held in Liwa City in the Al Dhafra region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi from 17-30 July and will offer AED 8.3 million in prizes for the best produce.

Organized by the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi and Emirates Heritage Club, the festival is under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in the Presidency.

The organizing committee revealed details of the upcoming edition at a press conference today at the Mohammad Khalaf Council in Abu Dhabi. Guests at the event included Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Director, Planning and Projects Authority, Abu Dhabi Cultural Projects and Heritage Festivals Committee; Mubarak Ali Al Qusaili Al Mansouri, Director, Mazayna, attending the festival; Samira Omar Al Ameri, Head of Media, Emirates Heritage Club; and Other officials, sponsors, media representatives, farmers and heritage enthusiasts.

Al Mazrouei highlighted the importance of Liwa Date, in line with President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s vision to support the agricultural sector, enhance food security and boost the national economy.

Al Mazrouei highlighted the festival’s role in honoring the legacy of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who laid the foundations for the agricultural sector and its development. The event also aims to foster interest in palm trees, palm tree products and the traditional handicrafts associated with them, thereby preserving the rich heritage of the UAE.

Al Mazrouei acknowledged the festival’s continued success over the past 19 years and expressed his gratitude to Sheikh Mansour for his consistent support and sponsorship, who has played a key role in making agriculture an important part of Emirati culture.

Al Mazrouei also thanked the Ruler’s representative in the Al Dhafra region, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for his dedicated guidance and oversight in developing and promoting various events and festivals in the region.

He added that the festival is a platform to bring together professionals, business owners and investment institutions working in the palm tree industry. It has attracted the participation of a wide range of governmental and private organizations involved in agriculture, with a particular focus on palm trees and their derivatives.

The festival aims to showcase Emirati heritage, support local products, promote agrarian culture in society, highlight the UAE’s efforts in sustainable food practices, and encourage community participation in the National Sustainable Development Strategy.

competitions and prizes

Al Mazrouei revealed that this year’s competition, which coincides with the Year of Sustainability, will feature 23 main competitions with a total of 293 prizes worth AED 8.3 million. The competition includes a variety of categories including Best Date Palm (rutab mazayna) Competition, Best Fruit Competition, Model Farm Competition, Most Beautiful Basket Competition, Best Heritage Model Competition, and a host of other cultural and heritage events.

Visitors can explore these offerings at the traditional souks, gazebos, parliament and artisan corner. The souk will house 165 shops and pavilions, with areas dedicated to produce families, state institutions and food trucks.

Al Mansouri elaborated on the competition, stating that the Best Dates competition will include varieties such as Dabbas, Khalas, Fardh, Khenaizi, Buma’an, Shishi and the largest cluster of dates. The fruit competition will include categories such as mangoes, lemons, figs and local fruit baskets.

Demonstration farm competitions will be held for Western Towns, Eastern Towns and Al Dhafra City. Al Mansouri outlined the participation process, emphasizing that registration will take place through the festival’s mobile application, available on the Apple Store and Google Play.

Al Mansouri specified the criteria and guidelines for each competition, emphasizing that entries for the date mazayna must include crops harvested from the entrant’s own farms within the UAE in 2023. Participants must provide documentation proving ownership of farmland upon registration.

Each person can compete in up to two categories, with disqualified entrants getting the chance to compete in other categories as well as the ‘Al Dhafra’ and ‘Liwa’ elite dating rounds. Al Dhafra baskets are mandatory for all entries.

Regarding the competition for the largest date skewer, Al Mansouri stressed that entries will be weighed and ranked based on weight, with the heaviest skewer taking first place. Registrations are only accepted on the first day of the festival from 8am to 3pm. Attendees are advised to adhere to deadlines and regulations.

Al Mansouri further explained the general conditions of the fruit competition, requiring participants to submit crops harvested from their own farms or their own vegetable gardens in 2023. Farm or home ownership documents must be provided at the time of registration. Everyone can compete in two fruit categories and the winning farm or house will be inspected by a jury.

Al Ameri said the club is committed to supporting events that celebrate Emirati heritage and its preservation. Through its participation in the Liwa Date festival, the club aims to showcase the UAE’s traditional handicrafts and their cultural significance.

The club’s pavilion will feature on-site handicraft workshops, offering visitors a unique experience and highlighting the creative skills of Emirati artisans, especially those related to palm trees. Al Ameri highlighted the importance of palm products in Emirati society as they have been used to make everyday tools for generations.

Al Ameri further mentioned that the pavilion will include workshops on traditional handicrafts such as Sadu and khous (palm leaf weaving) and Rababa (old musical instruments) workshops for children. In addition, the club’s publications exhibition will feature books on palm trees, dates and various aspects of UAE heritage and history, as well as a collection of Nabati poetry.

The club’s cultural program will also host lectures and workshops exploring the economic, cultural and social dimensions of the palm tree’s heritage.

Al Ameri concluded by expressing his gratitude to the committee for its dedication to showcasing the culture and heritage of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.


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