The Organizing Committee of the Liwa Date Festival 2013 has announced the start of the registration process to receive farmers' participations on a daily basis during the Festival period from 18th to 25th July.
The Festival is held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and organised by the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi.
Director of the Liwa Date Festival and Member of the Organizing Committee, Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, specified the categories of competition, saying, "A variety of competitions are on the agenda, notably Al Ratab and Date Cooking Competition, and the Best Handicrafts Product Competition. Visitors will have the opportunity to discover the Traditional Market, which hosts shops displaying hand-made products of more than 300 Emirati families. Children will have their share of fun too at the Kid's Tent, which offers a selection of educational and entertaining activities", Mazrouei said.
The Director of the Festival presented the required terms and conditions for Al Ratab Beauty Competition, saying "Al Ratab (half-ripe dates) must be locally produced in the UAE, and be part of the farm harvest of the participating owner. Fully ripe dates will not be accepted. Participants must respect deadlines when submitting samples in accordance with categories and the preset dates which will be announced later. Each participant will be allowed to take part in two categories, except for Al Nukhba, which will be open for all." "The participants in the main round of Al Nukhba category must take part with 15 to 20 varieties. The weight of the product should not be less than 2 kg. As for the promotion round of Al Nukhba category, the same rules apply," he added.
Al Mazrouei explained the logic behind the terms and conditions stipulated by the judging panel, "These terms and conditions confirm the Festival's determination to promote the cultivation of the palm tree, raise awareness about the best irrigation methods to save water, and advocate the use of alternatives to pesticides due to their tremendous negative impact on health in general," he said.
Al Mazrouei noted that the judging panel would award 50% of the winner's score after checking his farm and verifying the general hygiene, the maintenance of the palm-tree in general and the quality of the irrigation methods used to save water.
"The remaining 50% of the winner's score will be awarded after checking the quality of Al Ratab. The dates must be locally produced and from the production of the 2013 season. They must also be at the suitable stage for harvest. It should be noted that a single participation cannot include more than one variety in the single variety categories," he explained.
As for the terms and conditions for the ,Best Mangoes' and ,Best Lemons', Al Mazrouei noted that the product must be from the local production of the UAE, and be part of the harvest of the participating owner's farm or house.
"The participant must provide ownership documents of the farm or the house when registering and when participating. Each participant will be allowed to take part in two categories only. The judging panel will survey and inspect all farms and houses that will secure top positions in the competition," he explained.
Al Mazrouei stated that "mangos and lemons must be locally produced and from the harvest of the 2013 season. A single participation cannot include more than one variety in the single variety categories. The product must be of a suitable and acceptable size and free from infections and apparent flaws. Any unripe fruits will not be accepted. The weight of the product should not be less than 4 kg and not more than 6 kg in single variety categories. All participants are called to accept and respect the judging panel's decisions." As for the Best Handicrafts Product Competition, Al Mazrouei put emphasis on the condition to use natural materials, noting, "The number of heritage pieces used in the work will be taken into account. The perfection and harmony between the used materials will be considered, and the work must be expressive and reflect a pattern of the ancient lifestyle." The sponsors of the Liwa Date Festival include ADNOC Group of Companies as main sponsor, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) as platinum sponsor, Al Dahra Agricultural Farm, and Al Foah Palm Tree Growing and Development Company as golden sponsors, with Mohammed Rasul Khoury Company as silver sponsor.
The Festival also enjoys the support of the Western Region Municipality, the Western Region Development Council, the General Directorate of the Abu Dhabi Police, the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, the Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company, The Centre of Waste Management - Abu Dhabi, and the Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre.