Dates of various shapes and sizes are on display during the first day of the Date Palm Festival held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Image Credit: Alex Westcott/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Date palm trees have played a significant role in the development of the UAE's sustainability because of the wide range of products that can be developed not only from the date, but from the trees themselves, it was revealed at the Fourth International Date Palm Festival.

The significance of dates and date palm trees is being highlighted throughout the festival, with participants displaying various date or date tree products, as well as details about the techniques used to cultivate them.

Organisers also provided a number of competitions and workshops designed to raise awareness about dates.

"The date palm tree plays a very important role in our culture and heritage and is significant in the sustainable development of the UAE. This is evident through the many agriculture programmes that are being supported by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces," said Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm.

The five-day festival, which is being held 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 organised by Turret Media in collaboration with UAE University, the Khalifa International Date Palm Award and the Date Palm Friends Society, is being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).

Health benefits

"As part of the cultural programme of the award, we have set up various stands, including the Knowledge Oasis, where visitors and guests can learn everything about dates, the date palm tree, their importance and, of course, the health benefits of dates. We are also displaying over 58 varieties of dates that are unique to the UAE, with an expert on hand to answer any questions about them, or the methods used to cultivate and package them," Dr Abdul Wahab Al Zayed, Secretary General of the Khalifa International Date Palm Award, said.

"We are also exhibiting works by various artists, such as Sarmad Abdullah who has used parts of the trees that are normally considered as "waste" to create a wide variety of new items.

"The proceeds of their sale will all go towards various humanitarian organisations," he added.

Organisations, such as the Zayed Higher Organisation for Special Needs, are displaying craft work created in a special date workshop, including jewellery and candles, while the UAE University is hosting workshops for schools and children that emphasise the wide variety of products that can be created from dates and palm trees.

Social studies

"This is the first time we visited the Date Palm Festival. We decided to come because we are learning about palm trees and dates in our social studies project, their importance and uses in Emirati culture. The festival is wonderful in that it's providing the students with a chance to not only see the different aspects of Emirati culture but discover new uses for dates and the different parts of date palm trees that we didn't know about," said Ma'azaoui, a teacher at Al Yasmina School.


  • What: Fourth International Date Palm Festival
  • When: November 22 to 27
  • Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Hall 11 and Abu Dhabi Hall
  • Timings: November 22 to 25, 10am to 1pm/ 4pm to 10pm; November 26 and 27, 2pm to 10pm
  • Tickets: Dh10
  • Telephone: 800 23632
  • Website: www.datepalmfestival.ae