x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Make a date this month - for dates

Liwa gears up for its fifth annual festival celebrating the popular fruit, 120 varieties of which are produced in the UAE.

People who travel to the country's biggest date festival later this month will be able to savour as many as 120 varieties of the fruit cultivated in the UAE, organisers say. In announcing that preparations are continuing apace for the fifth Liwa Al Ratab Festival, to be held July 16-27 in Liwa, the oasis town south of Abu Dhabi on the border with Saudi Arabia, they also said that as many as 60 firms and associations will be showing off the latest techniques in date palm cultivation and care.

"We are putting every effort towards a better understanding of global practices regarding the way of preserving this ancient heritage," said Mohammed Khalaf al Mazroui, the chairman of the festival's organising committee and director general of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage. "The idea of the festival is to encourage people to plant palm trees within the right environment. Adach aims to instill the culture of plam and ratab into the minds of the different generations."

Khalfan al Mazrouei, the director of the festival, added that this year the event would stretch over 43,000 square metres and feature a special tent for women and children only, according to the state news agency, WAM. A market will be set up with about 140 shops, most of them run by families that cultivate their dates themselves. The festival is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.