The third edition of the local dates festival kicked off on Thursday at Souq Waqif, featuring popular varieties of fresh dates offered by dozens of participating Qatari farms.
The festival, which will run until August 4, was inaugurated by HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Rumaihi. He was joined by a number of ambassadors from various embassies in Doha, dignitaries and guests.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, HE the Minister highlighted the efforts of Qatari farms in further improving the quality of local dates.
“Whatever the farms are doing to modify the quality (of local dates) that is very important, so every year we see better quality and wider quantity but I think the farmers are empowered to produce more now,” said al-Rumaihi, who toured each of the stall and tried some of the fresh dates on display.
The festival, organised by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) and sponsored by the Souq Waqif management, features popular varieties of Qatari dates such as Khalas, Shishi, Khanizi and Barhi, among others.
HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Rumaihi and French ambassador Eric Chevallier holding a bundle of fresh dates as other diplomats look on.
According to one of the organisers, the latest edition of the festival saw an increase in the number of participating local farms, from more than 60 in 2017 to 73 this year.
While dates have several varieties, he noted that the popular ones are available at the event, being offered by participating local farms.
“These are the varieties (Khalas, Shishi, Khanizi and Barhi) that many people like,” he said, adding that the festival is expected to attract thousands of residents and visitors in the coming days.
Stalls offer a uniform price (fresh dates) for customers, ranging from QR9 for 1kg and QR17 for 2kg to QR25 for 3kg.
A number of local companies, which make dates products such as slush, tarts, puddings and cookies, are also taking part in the festival.
The ministry said the festival forms part of its efforts to maintain Qatar’s rich cultural heritage and attract more tourists, apart from encouraging local farmers to preserve and develop their palm trees and keep them in the best shape possible.
The annual event also aims to help the country to achieve food security and show its keenness to develop the agricultural sector.
It is learnt that total dates production reached more than 28,000 tonnes in 2016, meeting more than 80% of local demand.
The festival will also witness residents taking part in a competition organised by the ministry which aims to encourage house garden owners to plant different types of palm trees on their premises and to maintain them properly.