The Secretary-General of the National Initiative for Agricultural Development (NIAD) Shaikha Maram bint Isa Al Khalifa, inaugurated the third edition of the cultural and heritage festival “Khairat Al Nakhla” (Palm Tree Bounties).
Bahrain Development Bank CEO Dalal Al Qais and Assistant Undersecretary of Agriculture and Marine Resources Dr. Abdulaziz Mohammed Abdulkarim attending the opening of the festival organized by NIAD in cooperation with the Farmers Market Department of the Bahrain Development Bank Group and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture.
The festival aims to encourage and support local production of all palm products to preserve the agricultural identity.
It will run until July 30 at the permanent Bahraini farmers market in Hawrat A’ali, with the participation of many farmers, agricultural companies, artisans and productive families.
Shaikha Maram stressed, during the opening, “the great importance of the Palm Tree Festival, which in its third edition has proven its growing significance as an important aspect of Bahrain’s heritage and how closely connected it is to Bahrain’s agricultural identity rooted in the depths of history.”
“NIAD is keen to organize this festival on an ongoing basis because it contributes to the consolidation and preservation of the historical status of the palm trees and the ancient cultural and heritage of the Kingdom of Bahrain,” she said.
In this regard, she underlined the unlimited support of HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the generous directives of HRH Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of HM the King, and President of the NIAD Advisory Council, to support the palm tree sector because of its close connection with the heritage and culture of Bahraini society.
“HRH has regularly emphasized the need to ensure a permanent interest in, and constant care about, palm trees as they hold a special place in the heart and conscience of every Bahraini.”
Shaikha Maram extended her deep appreciation to the Bahrain Development Bank Group and to the Ministry of Municipality Affairs and Agriculture for their fruitful cooperation in organizing and making the national festival a success.
“We all look forward to consolidating this fruitful cooperation in the coming years, God willing.”
The Palm Tree Festival is held within the agricultural activities that NIAD is keen to organize regularly in proud recognition of Bahrain’s agricultural and historical identity.
The festival sets up a commercial platform that contributes to encouraging and supporting local production and offers an ideal opportunity to exchange experiences, which will reflect positively on the economy and contribute to strengthening the food diversity system.
This is at the core of the objectives set by NIAD within its commitment to enhancing the sustainability of the palm cultivation sector, increasing the local production of dates, and developing local industries based on the palm’s assets. In addition, the festival has the power to stimulate competition among farmers and to encourage investment to increase local production.
The festival featured national and patriotic songs performed by the Ministry of Interior military band as well as various exhibits by farmers, agricultural companies and productive families, with a focus on foods made from dates, such as date jam, date ice cream, and milk flavored with dates, in addition to the various types of dates.
“The third Khairat Al Nakhla Festival reflects the great interest and joint efforts between the Bank, NIAD and the Ministry of Municipality Affairs and Agriculture to support and develop the agricultural sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain,” Al Qais said.
“It is held within the framework of the diversity of initiatives aimed at supporting various national agricultural products. Such events and programs represent a great opportunity to learn about the needs of the agricultural sector and opportunities to provide support, whether through the farmers’ market or through other services provided by the Bank to this vital sector.”
Dr Abdulkarim stressed the keenness of the Ministry to pay great attention to the agricultural sector in general and the palm sector in particular, in implementation of the lofty directives of HM King Hamad, the generous directives of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, and follow-up by the Minister Wael bin Nasser Al Mubarak.
“The ministry seeks to work on developing and protecting the palm sector, and our participation today in the event aims to spread awareness about date palm varieties through a presentation of the types of dates,” he said.
“It also seeks to display the tools that are used in looking after palm trees, such as sickles and kernels, made by Bahrainis, as well as examples of pests that may infect the palm and how to identify and deal with infections. This profession was inherited from parents and grandparents.”
The Kingdom maintains a genetic diversity of date palm varieties, which requires the ministry to strive to preserve it through partnership with farmers, and to work on the care and development of the date palm sector, as the palm sector has been an indigenous component on the land of Bahrain for 6.000 years, he added.