Posted on July 21, 2018

Local date production meets more than 80 percent of the country’s needs, Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser Al Thani, Assistant Undersecretary of Agricultural Affairs, Livestock and Fisheries at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment has said.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the opening of third Local Dates Festival 2018 at Souq Waqif, Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser said since 2006 the Ministry has bought QR10m worth of date products from local farmers. Buying these products which were distributed to charities had indirectly supported the farmers, he said. Speaking to local media after officially launching the festival, the Minister of Municipality and Environment, H E Mohamed bin Abdullah al Rumaihi, underscored the importance of local farms focusing on further improving the quality of dates resulting to better quality and bigger quantity of production. He said that local farmers were now empowered to produce more and this year  date production was enough to meet the demand.

According to the Ministry, the total number of farms registered in Qatar has reached 1,310, of which 916 are active and most are producing different varieties of dates. There are 1.5 million date palm trees in Qatar, of which 500,000 are located in farms covering an area of 2,350 hectares. Each farm has an average of 500 palm trees. A total of 73 Qatari farms offering a wide variety of fresh dates at competitive prices are participating at the festival making it the biggest edition yet. In its third edition, the 17-day festival had seen an increase in the number of local farms taking part in the annual event, from 57 last year to 73 this year, said organisers.

Hundreds of people thronged the opening of the festival to buy fresh dates at affordable prices. Eight of the most popular varieties of dates grown in Qatar are being sold at the festival at discounted prices including Khalas and Shishi which are sold at QR9 per kilo, QR17 per two kilos and QR25 per three kilos. Other varieties which are available at the festival are Khanizi, Barhi, Naibt Saif, Lulu, Raziz and Ghar which can be purchased for QR7 per kilo, QR13 per two kilos and QR19 per three kilos. The participating farms brought around 10 tonnes of dates to sell on the opening day of the festival, according to organizers.

Apart from fresh dates, some locally made date products are being sold at the festival such as fresh date slush and shakes. In addition, date palm seedlings are also available at the festival. Handicrafts made from date palm trees and how they are made are also shown at the festival. Presented by the Agriculture Affairs Sector at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment under the sponsorship of Souq Waqif management, the festival comes as part of the country’s keenness to support and encourage the local production of all products which is part of efforts undertaken to achieve food security, the Ministry earlier said in a statement.

The festival is aimed at introducing the public to various types of quality dates produced locally as well as helping farmers improve the quality of dates and increase their production. It has been established as an annual event for the exchange of technical expertise between farmers. The ministry supports the owners of palm trees and date farms providing them necessary assistance to encourage them to adopt the most sophisticated methods in production and care of palm trees. Running until August 4, the festival is open to the public from 4pm to 10pm every day.

source: The Peninsula

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