x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Liwa Date Festival gets underway in Al Gharbia

The annual celebration of the country’s venerable date palm trees – a source of shelter, nutrition and national pride – will continue daily until July 18.

Abdullah al Mazrouei checks the bunches of dates before judging yesterday on the opening day of the Liwa Date festival 2014 at Liwa, Al Gharbia in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National
Abdullah al Mazrouei checks the bunches of dates before judging yesterday on the opening day of the Liwa Date festival 2014 at Liwa, Al Gharbia in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

LIWA // Date farmers from across the country converged on Al Gharbia on Saturday for this year’s Liwa Date Festival to compete for a share of more than Dh6 million in prize money.

The annual celebration of the country’s venerable date palm trees – a source of shelter, nutrition and national pride – will continue daily until July 18.

The UAE is home to 20 per cent of the world’s supply of dates, with over 22 million palm trees. This is the tenth year the festival has been held in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi.

Each day a new variety of dates will be inspected and judged. Everything from the fruit’s weight, size, colour, taste to the farm where it was cultivated will come under the scrutiny of judges.

This year, local farmers are also welcome to enter mangoes and lemons in new competitions meant to promote diversity in agriculture across the country. A third new category, the “local fruits baskets” competition, will see one farmer win Dh100,000 for growing various kinds of fruits locally.

Doors are open from 8pm to 1am. For more information, and location maps, visit www.liwadatesfestival.ae

rpennington@thenational.ae