The second Agricultural Exhibition organized by Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) in Al Ain turned out to be a festive occasion for celebrating the traditions and heritage of the UAE.
The events at the exhibition underscored that agriculture and culture are not two neatly divided areas, but an integrated sphere in which the collective creativity of people of all ages and times coalesce. The long queues of school students who came in large numbers (1600 by the second day) to visit the exhibition never lagged behind the host of committed farmers and farm owners in their enthusiasm and curiosity about farming.
In fact; many exhibitors were surprised to hear from very young students intelligent questions about various aspects of farming and the technologies used in it; questions they thought would come only from farmers steeped in the profession. What was conspicuous by its absence was a total lack of generational gap as far as agriculture was concerned. One definitive outcome of the event was that thousands of youngsters went back from it with a pledge to not only make agriculture a component of their national imagination, but also to work diligently toward environmental protection and preservation of precious natural resources.
The cultural programs staged by pupils from different schools at the exhibition venue addressed myriad concerns; they ranged from laments about the depleting water resources to obesity and improper food habits. While pupils of Al Ain Model School sang their hearts out about the need for preserving water resources, the students of Al Zayidiya Secondary School for girls enacted a skit about the woes of obesity, tracing it to bad food habits. They made a heart-wrenching plea to shun fast foods which captivate young minds so much these days. The pupils of Muawiya bin Abu Sufyan School presented songs that stressed the role of agriculture in the making of the UAE and in the shaping of the Emirati personality.
The cultural contests held by ADFCA for the pupils were the icing on the cake. The contests, meant to gauge the level of the youngstersï¿½ grasp of farming, food safety and animal wealth, demonstrated that the gen next remained deeply rooted in the wellsprings of their heritage and tradition. The event was also notable for in-depth debates and discussions about many aspects of farming, which took place during the several symposia and seminars that were held on the sidelines.