A series of lectures and workshops on a number of topics about agriculture highlighted the third day of the Mahaseel Festival, taking place in Katara – the Cultural Village’s southern area.

Also, the ambassadors of Turkey, Bangladesh and El Salvador visited the festival and expressed admiration for it.

Attended by dozens of students from various schools and their parents, a lecture saw renowned Qatari beekeeper Khaled al-Suwaidi discuss beekeeping and its benefits – from how honey is produced to its various health benefits.

Katara had set up a dedicated beekeeping section for the lecture at the venue, featuring beehives and other equipment used in the entire process of producing honey.

Apart from fresh vegetables and fruits, locally produced honey is one of the main products showcased in a number of stalls at the festival.

Al-Suwaidi wants Qatar not only to be self-sufficient in producing honey but also to export it in the future. He found ways on how to increase production even during the summer.

Besides beekeeping, the festival is hosting lectures on a number of topics every day since it opened on December 23, including methods of planting seasonal flower seeds, aquatic agriculture and healthy nutrition, and how to properly store fresh vegetables.

Students also had the opportunity to take part in some of the daily competitions for the 'Most beautiful vegetables' and 'Most beautiful flower basket'.

With its growing popularity, Mahaseel has been attracting a large number of residents and VIPs, including envoys and other embassy officials from various missions in Doha.

Ambassadors Fikret Ozer (Turkey), Ashud Ahmed (Bangladesh) and Alfredo Molina (El Salvador) toured stalls at the festival yesterday. They were welcomed and accompanied by Katara general manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti.

The envoys lauded the festival - which showcases agricultural produce, horticulture and poultry items - and described it as an excellent marketing platform for local products, Katara said in a statement.

The visiting ambassadors expressed admiration for the event and praised the quality and diversity of the products on offer.

Katara also noted that Qatari farmers participating in the festival offer 35 varieties of premium agricultural products.

Vegetables and fruits are cleaned, sterilised and packed by a specialised agricultural team under the supervision of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment to ensure that the products are fertiliser- and chemical-free.

The festival is also characterised by the wide participation of Qatari families, through the allocation of a food market, which contributes to the encouragement of and support for local production.

Apart from fresh produce, Mahaseel offers authentic Qatari dishes and snacks cooked by Qatari families.

Umm Ali, for example, sells popular breads to visitors at prices ranging between QR5 and QR10 depending on the add-on (egg, honey or cheese).

Meanwhile, Aisha Abdullah cooks traditional food and specialties such as 'Al Biryani and Al Makbous', along with tea, coffee and karak. Other food sellers prepare meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Mahaseel is expected to attract more visitors until tomorrow, its concluding day for 2017. It will open again in January 2018, taking place every weekend, from Thursday to Saturday, until the end of March.

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