Al Foah Dates Factory revives the tradition of Emirati dates

UAE, Abu Dhabi: 27 November, 2014: Al Foah Dates Factory is taking part in the activities of Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014, introducing festival visitors to a unique inheritance of dates – the UAE’s iconic fruit – which have been grown and packaged locally as a legacy of the UAE’s ancient traditions.

Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President; with the support of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The festival is held under the supervision of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. It will run until the 12th of December.

Commenting on the company’s participation at Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014, HE Mohamed Al Ghanim Al Mansouri, Deputy General Manager of Al Foah Dates Factory said: “Firstly, I am grateful to all those involved in this exceptional cultural event. I wish to thank the festival’s Higher Organizing Committee for this unique opportunity to help the general public – particularly the young generation – experience our heritage through our dates, interacting with new products and innovations in the dates industry.”

HE Al Mansouri pointed out that Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 has become a vital platform for upholding the nation’s customs, and a popular magnet that brings together citizens, residents, tourists and foreign delegates. This makes it an unparalleled opportunity to exhibit the entire life cycle of dates from the time they are planted, harvested, packaged and finally displayed on the shelves of retail outlets.

According to HE Al Mansouri: “It’s no secret that the boom in the UAE’s dates industry can be traced back to our founding leader, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – may God rest his soul – who was dedicated to agriculture as a whole, including palm dates. Forty-three different types of dates are sold from the UAE to the global market, courtesy of these great efforts from our founding father – may God rest his soul. ”

He added that visitors are able to touch, taste and interact with various dates and all aspects of this traditional industry from the moment they walk into the exhibition. Its design is inspired by the date palm, with the trunk, arches and palm fronds that have come to be associated with the company’s iconic logo.

It is noteworthy that the number of date farms across the country now exceeds 24,000. Exhibition visitors gain comprehensive information about the entire delivery process of dates, in which farmers transport dates from as far as Fujairah through eight dedicated centers nationwide: with three centers in the emirate, four in the Eastern Region and another in Al Dhaid City.

Festival-goers who enter the pavilion get a tour of the company’s role in marketing dates for farmers to cater for a global luxury market of high quality dates. Al Foah Dates Factory exports up to 100,000 tons per year to Australia, South Africa, China and East Asia, among other markets.

A detailed picture is given of the manufacturing process through detailed explanation of each stage: from receiving date harvests from farmers, to identification and sorting of the dates in another section of the wing, right down to packaging the dates by harnessing the most advanced technology in the industry – which is also used in the modern production lines.

Festival-goers can also benefit from joint educational sessions on how the agriculture of dates is being elevated through sustainable best practices that maximize the quality of production.

In this wing, visitors have access to the latest date brand called ‘Zadina’, whose name is drawn from the founding leader Sheikh Zayed – may God have mercy on him – and is a name with special significance in UAE society. This brand represents the highest quality standards in this field.

Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 has a special corner for children, where they can taste different luxury dates and date-based products free from any artificial flavours, colouring or preservatives.

There is also a special theater where children can be enlightened about everything related to the nutritional benefits of dates, optimal consumption, as well as entertainment events such as painting, henna and other fun activities that fulfill the festival’s goal of combining education with entertainment.

Visitors will get a detailed description of the numerous types of dates on a special map, including the ‘Alkhreif’ variety that is considered the finest. This type has over 30 species such as Lulu, Alkhnezi, Maritime, Boumaan, Fared and others. Another type is the ‘Alsayb’, which comes in about 150 species.

HE Al Mansouri noted that the festival is an excellent platform for farmers to compete, and a competition has been launched to encourage farmers to showcase their new offerings. The competition has seven categories, including an elite category that in turn has 10 varieties. This competition has received overwhelming praise from farmers, who urged an even wider expansion of the competition. Consultations are ongoing with the festival’s Higher Organizing Committee to implement the necessary arrangements for this expansion.

The farming of palm dates remains an essential feature on the map of Emirati heritage, and has been passed on as a vital food source and tradition from generation to generation. In this context, Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 is a valuable breeding ground for planting and nurturing the seeds of cultural diversity that have blossomed in this vital industry.

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