Date Trees Planted at Emirates International Date Palm Festival to be Dedicated to UAE President
Date Trees Planted at Emirates International Date Palm Festival to be Dedicated to UAE President
11/18/2011 12:00 AM

As the UAE celebrates 40 years of its National Identity the 2011 Emirates International Date Palm Festival aims to celebrate the heritage and culture of the date palm, foster indigenous food traditions among a global public and reinforce the factors behind the popularity of the date fruit, said the Higher Organizing Committee of the festival at a press conference today while announcing the launch of its appealing new features.  

Held at the Rocco Forte Hotel, Abu Dhabi, the press conference was addressed by  H.E. Rashed Al Shariqi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority; Rashed Tarish Al Qubaisi, Executive Director, Business & Trade Development Sector, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Ambassador Åž. Vural Altay, Embassy of Turkey; Mohammed Jalal Al Reyaysa, Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee for the Emirates International Date Palm Festival and the Official Spokesperson of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority; and Fadi Saad, Group Exhibition Director, Turret Media. 

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of ADFCA's Governing Board, Emirates International Date Palm Festival will be held from November 21 � 26, 2011 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.  

The festival is organized by Turret Media, in strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and in partnership with Date Palm Friends Society. Top export markets and leading producers in the global dates industry are set to participate at the dates festival.  More than 200 exhibitors, in addition to national pavilions from UAE, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Jordan will join forces to stage a remarkable display of date varieties. 

H.E. Rashed Al Shariqi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, said: �Though the living conditions have changed much for the better, date palms and dates still occupy a pride of place in our collective imagination. It continues to occupy its special place in our food habits, our notions of hospitality and even in our religious life. Therefore, the Emirates International Date Palm Festival is our opportunity to fondly remember and honor our glorious past as well as to reflect on our present.  It is a moment of intimacy with the wellsprings of our culture and heritage.� 

�The festival is also linked to our economy in more ways than one. The UAE is the  largest exporter of dates and date derivatives in the world. The festival is an opportunity for those in the dates business to establish trade links, acquaint themselves with the trends and innovations in dates industry around the world, exchange knowledge and expertise on all dates-related subjects with experts from different parts of the world and bring themselves up to date with the latest knowledge and information.� 

Fadi Saad, Group Event Director, Turret Media further explained, �There are two primary goals set behind the festival. Firstly, to facilitate a business platform for the dates industry, through which dates manufacturers can further expand their presence in potential markets and also increase sales directly with the UAE consumer base.� 

�Secondly, the festival aims to celebrate the heritage and culture of the date palm to foster the enlightenment of indigenous traditions to a global public and reinforce the factors behind its popularity.� 

Last year, the amount of dates sold to individuals, buyers and companies during the festival exceeded Dhs18.4 million. �We are optimistic that we will exceed the amount this year,� said Saad. 

The festival will be co-located with SIAL Middle East 2011. Exhibitors at the Date Palm Festival will benefit from a plethora of trade visitors and hosted buyers at SIAL Middle East, making it the ideal business platform to build enterprising relationships. 

A highlight and one of the newest additions to the Emirates International Date Palm Festival is the �Date Planting� feature. Visitors to the festival will be able to purchase and plant their very own date palms anytime during the six-day event. Each tree will have before it the name of the individual who plants it.  

These trees - with the names of their planters - will be relocated and planted in a special area in Abu Dhabi as a dedication to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.  

Visitors will also be able to interact with their favorite celebrity chefs. Participating in a new Cooking Area feature will be Chef Manal Al Alem, Chef Suzanne Husseini, Chef Khulood, Chef Khalid, Chef Nada and Chef Tomas Reger. All of them will cook dishes with the main ingredient being the date fruit, while they demonstrate the versatility and unique flavors that the fruit can add to any dish. 

Other features to entertain and educate visitors include the Al Ain Dairy Kid Zone, a Heritage Village, the Date Tree Climbing competition, Date Palm Photo Competition, and Date Tasting. 

Adding an element of surprise and excitement, visitors also have the opportunity to win two Etihad Airways tickets to any destination in the world at a grand raffle draw at the festival. 

Supporters of the Emirates International Date Palm festival include strategic partner, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, as well as Al Dahra Agricultural Company, Al Ain Dairy, Etihad Airways, Emirates Post, ADNEC, Abu Dhabi Police GHQ, Al Ittihad Newspaper, Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage, Ministry of Environment and Water, Ministry of Social Affairs, Environment Friends Society, General Women�s Union, FORSATY, Royal House for Aoud and Perfumes and Abu Dhabi Events.  

The date festival will occupy exhibition halls six and seven at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Abu Dhabi, UAE. Over 17,000 people are expected to attend the family festival celebrating the date fruit and the rich culture and heritage surrounding it.

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