Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, honouring the winners of the Khalifa International Date Palm Award (Kidpa), in a ceremony held at Emirates Palace Hotel. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Eight winners from different countries in the region have been chosen and honoured at the fifth edition of the Khalifa International Date Palm Award (Kidpa) in a ceremony held at Emirates Palace Hotel in the capital on Sunday.

The award, which was established in 2008 by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, presents a unique opportunity and meeting place for scientisits and researchers from all over the world to create their latest and best innovations in the date industry.

“In continuing efforts to develop the sector of date palm on a scientific, technological, and well established ground, the Khalifa Centre for Bio Technologies and Genetic Engineering has been established under the umbrella of the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) being the embracer of knowledge and producer of all sciences,” said Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

The awards were given in five categories — research and distinguished studies in the field of date palm cultivation and date production, the best distinguished production, the best development project, the best distinguished technology and the distinguished personality.

“Lovers of the date palm tree should prepare themselves for a meeting next year with the greatest and biggest fifth international symposium of date palm to be hosted by Abu Dhabi and organised by the UAEU to highlight an essential part of the sustainable development process,” Shaikh Nahyan added.

Commenting on his project, Ameen Zouba, 25, , told Gulf News: “This is my first time to receive such an award. I am extremely excited to win the second place in the best new technique to take advantage of the full potential of this strategic national product

“We developed a new plant with excellent properties therefore ensuring increased productivity,” Zouba explained

Additionally, the best development project, which went to Al Musli, was based on disseminating small-scale industries based on the secondary palm products.

“The main idea of our project is to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit and creative abilities of the public in villages by assisting them to rediscover their own resources, acknowledging that over 42,000 palm trees are available in Egypt’s villages ,” said Al Musli, Chairman of the Egyptian Society for Endogenous Development of Local Communities in Cairo.

“The main purpose of our project is to enable members of local communities scientifically, technologically and economically, so that they may turn into active participants, decrease their poverty level and guarantee sustainable environment,” Al Musli said.