Pupils visit the fourth day of the Date Palm Festival held at Adnec, Abu Dhabi. The pupils got a great opportunity to not only learn but taste different types of dates from different areas. Image Credit: Alex Westcott/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The capital will be hosting from December 14-16 the first dedicated food security conference in the region that will address issues, concerns and challenges being faced in the wake of increasing demand for limited food resources.

"After the great success of SIAL Middle East we will be hosting a food safety conference that is the first of its kind in that it will bring together participants from both the region and the world under the umbrella of Infosun," Mohammad Jalal Al Reyaysa, chairman, SIAL Organising Committee and official spokesperson, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (Adfca), told Gulf News exclusively on the sidelines of the Fourth International Date Palm Festival.

"The main aim of the event is to address the availability, access and food safety concerns being faced around the world. The conference will not only continue to help raise Abu Dhabi's profile but will also bring Adfca full circle," he added.

Fostering partnerships

Additionally, the UAE University is in the process of creating the first global database network dedicated to bringing together experts from around the region and the world to share ideas, research techniques and to foster partnerships that will highlight the importance of the date palm.

"We're in the initial stages of creating the Date Palm Global Network, which is a database that will allow members from not only the UAE and region but even around the world to access the latest findings about topics such as the best methods to combat the Red Palm Weevil as well as to promote exchanges among participating countries of tissue cultures to fully identify the different varieties of date palm trees," Engineer Hussain Al Hadrami, Marketing and Greenhouse Coordinator, Date Palm Development Research Unit Department, Plant Tissue Cultural Laboratory, UAE University, said.

The festival is being held at Adnec (Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre) under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, and is organised by Turret Media in collaboration with UAE University, Khalifa International Date Palm Award and the Date Palm Friends Society.

"An interesting aspect about this festival is that it not only highlights the culture of the UAE but also provides a platform for other GCC countries and the region to showcase and discuss our products, programmes and techniques among each other. However, organisers should encourage participants to create innovative products and techniques that could be revealed each year to help foster creativity and awareness of just how much potential there is in this industry," Engineer Mohammad Khairallah, Department of Irrigation, Ministry of Agriculture and Water, Saudi Arabia, said.