The fourth edition of the Local Dates Festival, that opened at Souq Waqif on Tuesday, has brought more than a dozen varieties of the delicious fruit from 85 farms across Qatar in addition to Hassad Food.
Organised by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) and Souq Waqif management, the event which runs until August 3 is a part of Qatar’s efforts to promote locally grown products and help local farmers market their produce.
Adel al-Yafai, assistant director of the Agricultural Affairs Department at the MME, said Qatar is paying much attention towards promoting production and marketing of local agricultural products including dates.
“Such efforts will ensure food security and overall development of the agriculture sector and the date palms. Farmers and those interested in date farming are supported through such initiatives,” he explained.
The organisers expect a good sale and flow of visitors from across the country.
According to al-Yafai, the MME is expecting more than 250 tonnes of dates to be sold at the festival.
Last year, the festival attracted about 54,000 visitors and sold 205 tonnes of fresh dates worth QR1.7mn.
The varieties on sale at the festival include Al-Khalas, Al-Shishi, Al-Khenaizi, Al-Barhi, Al-Iraqi and Al-Silji, Al-Saqai, Nabt Saif, Al-Lulu and Al-Razizi. These varieties are available at special prices at the festival.
Explaining how the MME is taking up efforts to promote the local dates farmers, al-Yafai said QR10mn has been allocated to buy the produce. Another dates festival will be held in October, followed by similar festivals at Katara Cultural Village and Quranic Botanic Garden at Qatar Foundation along with various fairs across Qatar.
Hamad al-Shammari, assistant director of the Agricultural Department at the MME, stated that the number of participating farms in the festival has gone up to 85 from last year's 73.
"The department and the ministry are keen on addressing the demands of farmers and finding solutions to the technical problems being faced by date palm cultivation sector. Efforts and researches are on to bring out new palm varieties that produce dates throughout the year," he said.
The department annually produces 10,000 to 15,000 date palms and distributes 7,000 saplings to Qatar residents.
He added that the ministry is looking to double the number of saplings this year and they will be distributed from December with an aim to expand date palm cultivation in the country.
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