Posted on July 19, 2019

The Ministry of Municipality and Environment and Souq Waqif will organise a 12-day festival to offer fresh local dates with the participation of over 80 local farms and Hassad Food Company.

“The ‘4th Local Dates Festival 2019’ will run from July 23 to August 3 between 4pm and  10pm in a large tent at Souq Waqif,” said Yousuf Khalid Al Khulaifi, Head of Agricultural Affairs Department at the Ministry during a press conference held yesterday at the headquarters of Agricultural Affairs and Fishery Sector. The conference was attended by Director of Souq Waqif, Mohammed Al Salem.

Al Khulaifi said that about a dozen types of fresh local dates including Khalas, Al Shishi, Al Khanizi, Al Barhi, Al Irqi, Al Silji, Al Saqai, Nabt Saif, Al Lulu and Al Razizi will be offered during the festival at very attractive prices. “The initiative is part of a major programme of the Ministry to provide platforms to market local produce including dates during its ongoing harvesting season,” said Al Khulaifi. He said that the programme is aimed at ensuring food security in the country, developing agricultural sector including farms of palm trees and supporting local farmers to produce varieties of quality dates. “Over 80 local farms of dates will participate in the 4th festival which is four times more compared to the first year,” said Al Khulaifi.

Head of Agricultural Affairs Department, Yousuf Khalid Al Khulaifi said that over 205 tonnes of fresh dates worth QR1.7m were sold out during the festival in 2018 which attracted about 54,000 visitors. “A total of 23 farms participated in the first festival and around 61 tonnes of fresh dates were sold during the festival,” he said. According to the conditions set by the organising committee of the festival, the fresh dates which will be showcased in the festival should be in ripening stage and free from any odour. In addition, the dates should have natural taste and smell. “Samples of fresh dates will be taken to the laboratory of the Ministry to ensure they are free from residues of pesticides,” said Al Khulaifi.

The Director of Souq Waqif, Mohammed Al Salem said that Souq Waqif will provide all necessities to facilitate the exhibitors. “Souq Waqif is keen to participate such festival in a bid to support the local farmers,” said Al Salem adding that Souq attracted growing number of visitors including citizens, expatriates and tourists due to its strategical location in central Doha.

source: The Peninsula