SHARJAH, 22 July (BelTA - Emirates News Agensy). - The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has officially inaugurated the 6th edition of Al Dhaid Date Festival at Expo Al Dhaid, bringing together hundreds of palm farmers and productive families, as well as a number of official bodies from all across the UAE.
Themed "The Aroma of The Past... The Blossoming Present," the four-day festival was opened in the presence of Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of the Chamber, Sheikh Majid bin Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Head of the Department of Suburbs and Villages Affairs in Sharjah, Mohammad Ahmed Amin Al Awadi, SCCI's Director-General, and Abdulaziz Shattaf, Assistant Director-General for Business and Communication Sector at SCCI, and Mohamed Mosbeh Al Tunaiji, the festival's general coordinator.
Several directors, senior officials, and representatives of government entities taking part in the event were also present. This is in addition to chairmen of municipal councils, and a delegation from the executive team of the Buraidah Date Festival from Saudi Arabia.
The high-profile guests toured the show, visited a number of stands, and took in some folkloric performances and competitions.
Thousands of visitors flocked to the festival on the very first day to view the finest types and sorts of dates and buy stunning handicrafts made from multipurpose palm fronds.
The first day of the festival also witnessed an impressive turnout of palm farmers and owners from Sharjah and other emirates who were keen to take part in the event's competitions, which offer cash prizes totaling AED1 million for 145 lucky winners in six categories.
The categories include Al Ratab Beauty, Largest Dates Branch, Best Lemons, Fig Contest, Al Heseel Date Contest, and Most Beautiful Dates Basket (only for women). Each category offers rewards of between AED1,000 and AED25,000.
Underscoring the importance of the festival, Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, stressed that the UAE is one of the top 10 date producing countries in the world as well as one of the major exporters of the fruit. He also noted that the UAE's date industry makes up about 30 percent of all import and export activity in the nation's international trade.